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Election roundup: Iowa voters oust three justices

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Nov 3, 2010


DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Voters in Iowa ousted three state Supreme Court justices who helped make same-sex marriage in the state legal.

While all seven justices on the court ruled with Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit, those three were the only ones whose seats were up for retention. None of them received the 50 percent "yes" vote needed to remain on the bench, according to various major media outlets, including CNN and USA Today.

Each of the three justices simply needed more "yes" than "no" votes to be elected for another eight-year term.

The three faced no opponents, and none of the judges raised money for the campaign.

The vote marks the first time a member of the Iowa Supreme Court has been rejected by the voters under the current system that began in 1962.


JUNEAU, Alaska - Alaska voters kept state Supreme Court Justice Dana Fabe in office Tuesday.

According to The Anchorage Daily News, just over 50 percent of the voters agreed to retain Fabe as a Supreme Court justice for 10 more years.

That was the narrowest winning margin by any of the state judges up for retention Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

Fabe, 59, has been on the state's high court since 1996 and was the first woman to join the Supreme Court.


PHOENIX, Ariz. - Based on preliminary results, voters appear to have retained Arizona Supreme Court Justice Rebecca White Berch, the Arizona Daily Star reported.


SACRAMENTO - California voters gave state Supreme Court Justices Ming Chin and Carlos Moreno new 12-year terms, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.


DENVER - Three of Colorado's Supreme Court justices appeared to retain their seats Tuesday.

About 60 percent of voters chose to retain Justices Michael Bender, Alex Martinez and Nancy Rice with 22 percent of the state's precincts reporting, according to The Denver Post.

Rice, Bender and Martinez will win 10-year terms if the results hold.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - All four Florida Supreme Court justices -- Charles Canady, Jorge Labarga, James Perry and Ricky Polston -- appear headed for retention.

Both Labarga and Perry had comfortable leads, The Associated Press reported.

With 43 percent of the expected vote counted, Perry had 61 percent yes votes and Labarga had 58 percent. Their two more conservative colleagues did a bit better. Canady had 67 percent yes votes and JPolston had 65 percent, according to the AP.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Illinois Supreme Court Justices Charles Freeman and Robert Thomas also have retained their seats on the Court.

According to Judgepedia, an online encyclopedia about America's courts and judges, Freeman retained his seat with 78 percent of the vote, with 98 percent of the state's precincts reporting.

Thomas kept his seat with 81 percent of the vote, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Judgepedia showed.

The website considers the results unofficial.


TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas voters chose to retain all four state Supreme Court justices on the ballot Tuesday.

With two-thirds of precincts reporting, 63 percent of voters said Justice Carol Beier should be retained in office, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Beier has served on the court since September 2003 and was retained by voters in 2004, with more than 76 percent voting yes.

On the ballot with Beier were justices Dan Biles, Marla Luckert and Lawton Nuss. All received yes votes of 62 percent or more, according to the Eagle.

Kansas Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor but must ask voters every six years to keep them on the bench.


LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska voters appeared to keep all judges up for retention Tuesday, including state Supreme Court Justice Michael Heavican.

According to The Lincoln Journal Star, it also appeared voters kept Supreme Court judges William Connolly, John Gerrard and John Wright.


SANTA FE, N.M. - New Mexico Chief Justice Charles Daniels and Justice Petra Jimenez Maes were both retained by voters on Tuesday, according to an online encyclopedia about America's courts and judges.

The website, Judgepedia, considers the results unofficial.


BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Carol Ronning Kapsner was elected without opposition, the state's high court reported on its website Wednesday.

Kapsner, who was appointed in 1998 and elected in 2000, is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law and was admitted to the bar in 1977.


CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Wyoming voters also retained state Supreme Court Justices Barton R. Voigt and Marilyn S. Kite, according to The Billings Gazette.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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