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01/25/2011

'A small and well-organized group may be able to defeat a good judge', says 1948

by Jeremy Hooper

Throughout last year's so-called Iowa For Freedom campaign to remove state Supreme Court justices on the basis of one single ruling, we kept saying that the judicial retention process -- which is modeled after the so-called "Missouri Plan" -- makes it easy for a special interest group (e.g. the national "protect marriage" lobby) to come in and hyper-motivate their supporters to "victory." Because while the process was designed to take politicking out of the courts, it actually comes with a huge entry point for those who wish to exploit retention for a certain purpose. Think about it: When you have a (largely faith-based, largely partisan) coalition telling supporters that they have to cast a non-retention vote to send a message and/or appease God and claiming that the referendum was the most important vote in the nation during a 'Take Back America"-themed election, the ragtag "everyone else" coalition -- made up of marriage equality supporters who supported the judges, marriage equality supporters who opposed retention for other reasons, indifferent voters, apathetic voters, gay marriage non-supporters who weren't involved with the "Iowa For Freedom" campaign (and therefore either retained or not for a myriad of other reasons), people who forgot to turn their ballot over, people who didn't give a damn enough to vote on retention, young voters who always turn out at disproportionately low rates (esp. in midterm elections), etc. -- is going to have a tough time competing against the one, unified message of the agitated activist coalition. That's just reality.

We knew it. We just didn't know that our 2010 fears were completely and utterly unoriginal:

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