Dueling tours over judicial retention election

The “Judge Bus”  is traveling around the state.  The organizers held a kick-off rally this morning in Des Moines on a street just west of the statehouse. About half an hour earlier another group, Fair Courts for US, held a rally on the west steps of the statehouse, around the Lincoln and Tad statue.  That group is calling their schedule of events around the state the Homegrown Justice Tour.

Read the Radio Iowa story, listen to the rallies and see photos here.

This morning the Homegrown Justice folks accused the Judge Bus people of calling on Iowans to vote all 74 judges off the bench.  During the half-hour-long news conference near the Judge Bus, Congressman Steve King said no one in that movement was making such a call, but the Iowa Independent reports  Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Centersent out an email last week urging Iowans to vote against all judges on the ballot, not just the three Iowa Supreme Court justices.  Hurley was not among those who spoke at the Des Moines Judge Bus rally, but he spoke at its stop in Atlantic.  Hurley told the crowd the Supreme Court had “usurped” or “arrogated” power that “was not rightfully theirs.”

Senator Tom Harkin attended this morning’s Fair Courts for US rally and talked with reporters afterwards.  “Iowans just have to realize what a dangerous precipice we’re on with this endeavor to remove these judges,” Harkin said. His wife, Ruth, is among those who’ll be on the “Homegrown Justice” tour.

Congressman King was the master of ceremonies for this morning’s Judge Bus event, urging “no” votes on all three justices.  “Don’t let ’em try to tell you that somehow this upsets the system in such a way that we would have a scrambled Department of Justice,” King said. “They have scrambled it and you have a right to fire them.” 

Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, a former judge, spoke at the Des Moines rally after King.  Gohmert told the crowd he read the Varnum v Brien ruling last night.  “Now, they could have stopped at 64, 65 — but they had to get to 69.”  The ruling is 69 pages long.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.