Keep good judges on the bench

Don’t fail to do your part in keeping courts first-rate

“Iowa’s judiciary is recognized as among the best in the nation. In surveys conducted for the United States Chamber of Commerce, our state judiciary has consistently ranked among the top five state court systems in terms of impartiality and competence. This high standing is due to Iowa’s judicial merit selection and retention process that emphasizes professional qualifications instead of partisan politics and ideologies.”

Those are the words of former Chief Justice Louis A. Lavorato of the Iowa Supreme Court.

Since 1962, when Iowa voters approved a constitutional reform measure, the system for selecting judges in this state has been removed from politics. There is a carefully designed process for ensuring that judges are selected on basis of merit. For more than four decades, Iowans have benefited from a method of choosing judges that rigorously weighs the qualifications of those individuals who seek to serve on the bench. This system assesses the integrity, professional competence, judicial temperament, experience and service record of potential judges.

Once on the bench, there is a mechanism for assuring accountability.

Judges stand for what is called a retention election near the end of their terms in office. Voters can vote “yes” to keep the judge in place for another term or “no” to end that judge’s service. Given the highly professional selection process used in our state, it is rare that a “no” vote is justified.

There are many important decisions for voters to make next Tuesday.

Don’t overlook your chance to help keep excellent judges on the bench.

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