Justice Wiggins Thanks Iowans for Keeping Politics Out of Courts

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2012, file photo Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, right, participates in a discussion in Des Moines, Iowa. Wiggins isn�t well known outside the legal community of his state, but whether he should keep his job has become one of the most fiercely contested judicial issues on the Nov. 6 ballot because of what he symbolizes in the debate over gay marriage. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

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By Ellen Kurt

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins thanked Iowans Wednesday for preserving fair and impartial courts.

"I want to thank everybody who worked so hard to keep politics out of our courts, and I want to thank the people of Iowa who preserved the fairness and impartiality of Iowa's courts and agree that equal means equal," Wiggins said in a statement.

Wiggins was retained by 54.4 percent of the votes, according to unofficial ballot results Wednesday. Wiggins had received 666,470 "Yes" votes to 556,071 "No" votes with about 98 percent of the precincts reporting according to the Iowa Secretary of State website.

Justices Edward Mansfield, Bruce Zager and Thomas Waterman also were retained with about 74 percent of the votes.

Conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats and special interest groups for the second time launched an aggressive campaign to oust Wiggins for his part in the 2009 Varnum decison which led to legalizing same-sex marriage in Iowa. Three justices lost their retention vote in 2010 over the ruling.

Chief Justice Mark Cady also said in the statement that he thanked Iowans for retaining all the 78 judges and justices across the state.

"This is an important moment in the history of Iowa's courts," Cady said. "Yesterday, Iowans came together in support of a fair and impartial court system. Today, the full court will continue its work to resolve disputes fairly and impartially based upon the facts of the case and the rule of law and to provide support for Iowa's exceptional court system and its employees."

Cady also thanked all the organizations and individuals from across the "political spectrum and from different walks of life who worked tirelessly over the past few months in support of our courts."

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