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09/21/2010

Iowa For [Calling out Bald-Faced Deception]

by Jeremy Hooper

Kudos to the Des Moines Register for pointing out the so-called "Iowa For Freedom" group's deceptive decision to misrepresent the words of retired SCOTUS justice Sandra Day O'Connor:

A thistle to a group working to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices for incorrectly implying retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor supports their cause. The iowaforfreedom.com website quotes O'Connor saying, "Sure they can be ousted and that's part of the system." This comes under a headline, "Sandra Day O'Connor on Removing Activist Judges." This quote presumably comes from O'Connor's talk in Des Moines, where she said something to that effect, but she clearly was not referring to "activist" judges. The point of the former justice's Iowa appearance was to speak out against politicizing the courts - which happens when voters are encouraged to punish judges for doing their jobs. Alas, O'Connor is partly to blame, as she insisted on no audio or video recording of the event. Apparently she would rather be misquoted than accurately recorded.
Roses & Thistles: How words, and rules, can backfire [Des Moines Register]

Although we do take exception with the Register acting as if O'Connor's actual quote is an unknown, that criticism of Iowa For Freedom needs to be based on presumption, and that there is equal criticism to go around here. Because the reality is that IowaPolitics.com recorded O'Connor's full quote for posterity:

We have to address the pressures that are being applied to that one safe place, the courtroom,” O’Connor said. “We have to have a place where judges are not subject to outright retaliation for their judicial decisions. That’s the concept. Sure they can be ousted and that’s part of the system, but what the framers of our federal constitution tried to do was establish a system of judicial selection where the judges would not be subject to retaliation by the other branches for their judicial actions.
IowaPolitics.com: O'Connor touts Iowa's merit system of selecting judges [IowaPolitics.com]

It's all there, spelled out: Iowa For Freedom just chose to coldly cut down the quote, as if the phrase following the conjunction were a nice, tax-paying gay person wanting to be treated fairly. So it seems silly to lay any blame on O'Connor for not allowing the speech to be recorded or videotaped, considering that the quote in question is on record for all to see. The egregious behavior belongs to Iowa For Freedom, no qualifiers needed.

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