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April 21, 2011

Judge Dismisses Judicial Retention Vote Lawsuit

(DES MOINES, Iowa)  A Polk County judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ballots used in Iowa’s 2010 statewide judicial retention vote, and anticipated to be used in future elections.  The lawsuit claimed that state judicial retention ballot laws ran afoul of an Iowa Constitution requirement that judicial officers stand for retention “on a separate ballot.”

Attorneys Thomas George, John Roehrick and Carlton Salmons filed the suit in December in Polk County District Court against former Secretary of State Michael Mauro, then current Secretary of State Matt Schultz.  The plaintiffs also sought a temporary injunction to prevent former Iowa Supreme Court Justices Marsha Ternus, Michael Streit and David Baker from leaving office, but later withdrew that request.

While Polk County District Judge Michael D. Huppert did not rule on the legal merits of the case, he ruled that “the plaintiffs have not established either a personal or legal interest in this litigation” and could not establish an injury or harm. “The plaintiffs herein have not convinced this court that their position is deserving of judicial resolution.”

Attorney General Tom Miller defended the state in the case, along with Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Thompson and Assistant Attorney General Meghan Gavin.

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