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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 25, 2011

Law school panel to look at judicial retention elections

A panel of prominent observers from across the state will discuss and examine last fall’s campaign and election that led to the removal of three justices from the Iowa Supreme Court.

The forum, “The New Politics of Iowa’s Judicial Retention Elections: Examining the 2010 Campaign and Vote,” will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, in Levitt Auditorium of the Boyd Law Building at the University of Iowa College of Law.

Among those participating in the discussion will be former justice Michael Streit, one of the justices who was not retained; Seth Anderson, executive director of the American Judicature Society; Brian Fitzpatrick, professor of law at Vanderbilt University; David Perlmutter, professor and chair of the UI Department of Journalism and Mass Communication; and Kathie Obradovich, political columnist for the Des Moines Register.

The forum will also look at the future of judicial retention elections and consider what the Iowa experience can teach about the politics of retention battles when the driving issue is a complex, hot-button social issue like same-sex marriage; how did the anti-retention and the pro-retention sides conduct their campaigns and why? In what ways could both sides have better served the electorate? And what are the benefits and downsides of Iowa’s current judicial selection and retention system, and would other systems be better? 

Todd Pettys, UI professor of law, will moderate.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010 (office), 319-541-8434 (cell),