Iowa voters on Tuesday retained Justice David Wiggins on the state supreme court, following a heated campaign to remove him from the bench, reports the Des Moines Register. Wiggins, 61, needed a simple majority of votes to stay on high court. His retention was favored by about 54 percent of voters, with most ballots counted.
The Iowa Supreme Court became a political focal point when the seven justices unanimously ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009. Wiggins was the fourth of those justices to stand for a retention vote since then. Three of them, Marsha Ternus, David Baker and Michael Streit, were ousted in 2010 after socially conservative Iowans, backed by cash from out-of-state conservative groups, successfully convinced voters that the same-sex marriage decision was grounds for dismissal. It was the first time since 1962, when Iowa adopted the merit-selection process, that a justice was not retained. The final three justices involved in that case, Chief Justice Mark Cady and Justices Daryl Hecht and Brent Appel, are up for retention votes in 2016.