Letter from Iowa: Same-Sex Marriage and the Ouster of Three Justices
28 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2010 Last revised: 20 Sep 2011
Date Written: December 6, 2010
In this contribution to a symposium sponsored by the Kansas Law Review, I examine the path from the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2009 ruling in Varnum v. Brien (in which the court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage) to the ouster of three of the court’s seven justices in Iowa’s 2010 judicial retention election. I describe the campaign efforts of the justices’ detractors and supporters. I then suggest a number of lessons that academics, activists, and judges nationwide can learn from the Iowa experience.
Keywords: marriage, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, varnum, judicial retention, retention, ouster, merit selection, democratic constitutionalism
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30, K39, K40, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation