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David Wiggins

Iowa Supreme Court considering defamation case over 2010 political ad

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 12:13:35 PM CST

The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in an appeal of Republican State Senator Rick Bertrand's defamation lawsuit against his 2010 opponent, Rick Mullin, and the Iowa Democratic Party. Des Moines attorney and law blogger Ryan Koopmans live-tweeted the hearing, and Mike Wiser and Grant Rodgers published summaries.

We'll know the verdict within a few months, but I've posted some thoughts and predictions below.

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Report details spending on 2012 Iowa judicial retention election

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 06:55:00 AM CDT

Via Radio Iowa I saw that a report just came out about spending in judicial elections across the country in 2011 and 2012. Researchers from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the National Institute on Money in State Politics, and the nonpartisan group Justice at Stake collaborated on the report, which you can download here (pdf). Excerpt:

Spending in the Iowa Supreme Court retention election totaled more than $833,000 in 2012, down from the $1.4 million spent in 2010 but still substantial in a state with no recorded spending on high court races during the previous decade. Anti-retention groups spent $466,000 on the 2012 election, including $318,000 by Iowans For Freedom and $148,000 by the National Organization for Marriage. Both groups ran television ads. Pro-retention groups spent $367,000, including $320,000 by Justice Not Politics, $37,000 by the Iowa State Bar and roughly $5,000 each by Progress Iowa and the Human Rights Campaign.

Major donors to Iowans for Freedom (a campaign group fronted by Bob Vander Plaats) included "CitizenLink, Patriot Voices, The Family Leader, the National Organization for Marriage, and CatholicVote." Of the $466,000 spent on the "No Wiggins" campaign, an estimated $163,600 went toward broadcasting two television commercials. Bleeding Heartland posted videos and transcripts of those ads here and here.

Justice David Wiggins didn't create a campaign fund or raise money directly. The largest donor to Justice Not Politics Action was the LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, which gave $135,000. That's more than a third of the total funds spent campaigning for retention.

Iowa voters retained Wiggins by a margin of 680,284 votes to 567,024 (about 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent). Whereas just ten counties had voted to retain the three Iowa Supreme Court justices up for retention in 2010, 36 counties voted yes on Wiggins in 2012.

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Cady, Zager emerge as Iowa Supreme Court's "swing" justices

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 15:11:09 PM CDT

Chief Justice Mark Cady and Justice Bruce Zager emerged as "swing" votes on the Iowa Supreme Court during the latest session, according to new analysis by Ryan Koopmans at the On Brief blog. During the 2012/2013 term, the high court handed down split decisions in 30 of the 83 cases considered that were not related to attorney discipline. Two distinct "voting blocs" emerged, with Justices David Wiggins, Daryl Hecht, and Brent Appel often on one side and Justices Edward Mansfield and Thomas Waterman on the other side. Cady and Zager were usually part of the majority and only occasionally sided with the dissenters.

A similar analysis by Koopmans showed that during the Iowa Supreme Court's 2011/2012 term, Zager was the only swing justice, never dissenting from a majority opinion. Cady typically ended up on the same side as Waterman and Mansfield.

Tables on this page show how often each of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices agreed with each other in non-unanimous decisions during the past two years. It will be interesting to see whether these trends hold or change.

Governor Terry Branstad appointed Cady in 1998 and Mansfield, Waterman, and Zager in 2011. Governor Tom Vilsack appointed Wiggins in 2003 and Appel and Hecht in 2006. None of the justices will be up for retention in 2014. Cady, Appel, and Hecht should have little trouble being retained again in 2016, judging from the failed attempt by social conservatives to oust Wiggins in 2012.

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Iowa Supreme Court allows review of long sentences for juveniles

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 14:51:36 PM CDT

Catching up on news from last week, the Iowa Supreme Court handed down three important decisions related to juvenile sentencing on August 16. I finally had a chance to read through the rulings, which do not guarantee early release for any prisoner but could allow hundreds of Iowans to have their sentences reviewed, if they were convicted for crimes committed as minors.

Follow me after the jump for background and key points from the three rulings. Unfortunately, Governor Terry Branstad still seems to be missing the point of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that set all of these cases in motion.

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Another Iowa Supreme Court ruling for equality (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:25:00 AM CDT

In a decision announced on Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for the Iowa Department of Public Health to refuse to list a non-birthing lesbian spouse on a child's birth certificate. Details on this nearly unanimous ruling are after the jump. I was intrigued by how Governor Terry Branstad's three appointees from 2011 handled this case.
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Bleeding Heartland election prediction contest results

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 15:45:00 PM CST

A few days ago, the final recounts ended in Iowa legislative races, and the last Congressional campaign was resolved. It's time to reveal the winner of Bleeding Heartland's general election prediction contest.
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A closer look at the 2012 Iowa Supreme Court retention vote

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 17:15:00 PM CST

Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins kept his job Tuesday by a surprisingly large margin of 670,013 votes to 556,782. The percentage of yes and no votes on Wiggins (54.61 percent to 45.39 percent) was a mirror image of the 2010 votes on Chief Justice Marsha Ternus (55 percent no), Justice Michael Streit (54.4 percent no), and Justice David Baker (54.2 percent no). Whereas only ten of Iowa's 99 counties voted to retain three Supreme Court justices in 2010, 36 counties recorded more "yes" than "no" votes this year.

Maps are after the jump, along with some clips on the retention vote. I also list which pro-retention counties produced a plurality of votes for President Barack Obama, which "yes" counties went for Mitt Romney, and which "no Wiggins" counties went for Obama.

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Huge day for marriage equality in Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:25:00 AM CST

Supporters of LGBT equality are celebrating yesterday's votes for same-sex marriage rights in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, as well as Minnesotans rejecting a constitutional amendment designed to restrict marriage rights to heterosexuals.

The election also slammed the door on any prospect of overturning marriage equality in Iowa.

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No consensus in polls on Iowa retention vote

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 19:20:00 PM CST

The Des Moines Register's new poll by Selzer and Co is the latest survey to give no clear sign of whether voters will retain Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins on Tuesday.  
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Enter Bleeding Heartland's 2012 Iowa general election prediction contest

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:19:37 AM CDT

To enter Bleeding Heartland's election prediction contest, post your guesses as comments in this thread before 7 am on November 6. Predictions submitted by e-mail will not be considered. It's ok to change your mind, as long as you post your revised predictions as an additional comment in this thread before the deadline.

No money's at stake here, just bragging rights like those enjoyed by Bleeding Heartland users ModerateIADem (twice), American007, Johannes, and tietack. This isn't "The Price is Right"; the winning answers will be closest to the final results, whether they were a little high or low. Even if you have no idea, please try to take a guess on every question.

Minor-party or independent candidates are on the ballot for some races, so the percentages of the vote for Democratic and Republican nominees need not add up to 100. You can view the complete list of candidates for federal and state offices in Iowa here (pdf).

Good luck, and remember: you can't win if you don't play.

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Second "No Wiggins" tv ad and other Iowa retention vote news

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 06:35:00 AM CDT

The second "No Wiggins" television commercial hit Iowa television screens on October 26, featuring an "Iowa mom" who happens to be Iowa's new Republican National Committeewoman. The video, transcript, and related news clips are after the jump. Bleeding Heartland covered the first "No Wiggins" ad here.
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PPP finds Romney slightly ahead in Iowa UPDATED: Or maybe not

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 17:30:30 PM CDT

Republican Mitt Romney leads President Barack Obama in Public Policy Polling's latest survey of likely voters in Iowa by 49 percent to 48 percent. For Romney, that's a big improvement since PPP polled Iowa in late September and a much better finding than yesterday's poll from NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist.

PPP's new poll also suggests Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins might not be retained. More details are below.

UPDATE: On October 21, PPP released a different Iowa poll conducted during the same period, which showed Obama leading Romney by 49 percent to 48 percent. I've added excerpts from that polling memo at the end of this post.

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Did Burlington churches cross line with "No Wiggins" advocacy?

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 08:35:55 AM CDT

"No Wiggins" campaign materials on display at two churches in Burlington have stirred up a local debate over whether such advocacy is an abuse of tax-exempt status or an exercise of free speech.
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First "No Wiggins" tv ad and other Iowa judicial retention news

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 11:46:53 AM CDT

It's time for another thread to discuss this year's judicial retention elections. Recent links on the campaign are after the jump, along with the first television commercial urging Iowans to vote against retaining Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins.

UPDATE: Progress Iowa cut a pro-retention video featuring "Iowa Nice Guy" Scott Siepker. I've added it at the end of this post.

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Judicial retention election news and discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 07:55:30 AM CDT

The Des Moines Register's latest Iowa poll indicates a close contest for Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, the target of an anti-retention campaign by social conservatives. In an unexpected move, former Iowa House Speaker Chris Rants publicly advocated a yes vote on Wiggins, despite Rants' opposition to same-sex marriage rights.

In related news, yesterday marked the end of the road for conservative activists trying to challenge Iowa's 50-year-old system for nominating judges.

Follow me after the jump for details.

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2016 Iowa caucus hopefuls audition with No Wiggins bus (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 15:25:00 PM CDT

Just as several Republican presidential candidates got involved in the 2010 campaign against retaining three Iowa Supreme Court justices, two leading GOP contenders for the next presidential race are lending support to the "No Wiggins" campaign in Iowa this week.  
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Poll suggests Iowa Supreme Court justices "poised for victory"

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 09:50:00 AM CDT

The first statewide poll on the 2012 judicial retention elections suggests that the four Iowa Supreme Justices who will be on the ballot this November have good chances of being retained. However, the pollster does not distinguish between support for retaining the justices as a group and support for Justice David Wiggins, whom opponents of same-sex marriage rights are trying to defeat.  
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Conservatives organizing "No on Wiggins" Iowa judicial retention campaign

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 08:52:50 AM CDT

Bob Vander Plaats confirmed over the weekend that he will lead the campaign against retaining Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, who concurred in the 2009 Varnum v Brien decision on civil marriage rights. Earlier this month, Republican Party of Iowa Chair A.J. Spiker called on Iowans to vote against Wiggins as well.  
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Impeachment going nowhere and other Iowa Supreme Court news

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 13:05:23 PM CDT

Last week, a group of conservative Iowa House Republicans finally made good on their promise to introduce articles of impeachment against the four remaining Iowa Supreme Court justices who concurred in the 2009 Varnum v Brien decision on marriage. The impeachment bills won't make it out of committee, let alone the Iowa House, but there may be some political fallout from the effort.

After the jump I examine the articles of impeachment, future prospects for their backers and recent news related to the 2012 judicial retention elections.

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Catch-up thread on the Iowa Supreme Court

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 11:49:01 AM CST

Fallout from last month's vote against retaining Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices Michael Streit and David Baker continues to make the news almost daily.

Follow me after the jump for links and analysis on the timetable for replacing Ternus, Streit and Baker, efforts to change Iowa's system for choosing judges, political pressure on the remaining justices, and how the retention vote will affect the 2012 elections.

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