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Former Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus to Speak at Arizona Law on Politicization of Judicial Elections

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) at the College of Law is holding an event on judicial independence featuring Justice Marsha Ternus, former Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. Justice Temus will speak January 19, 2012, 12:15 - 1:15 p.m., in Room 164. She will discuss the increasing politicization of judicial elections and the impact that has on judicial independence, and the fairness and impartiality of judicial decision making.

Justice Ternus was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1993 by Governor Terry Branstad; members of the court elected her chief justice in 2006. She was the first woman to serve as chief justice of Iowa’s highest court. Justice Ternus earned her law degree with honors from Drake University, Order of the Coif, where she was editor-in-chief of the Drake Law Review.

In April 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court, in Varnum v. Brien, unanimously declared the state’s same-sex marriage restriction unconstitutional, making Iowa the third state in the country to allow same-sex marriages. The three justices up for retention in 2010 were then targeted by a well-organized and well-financed campaign to unseat them; in November 2010, Iowa voters removed Justice Ternus and two other justices from office.

About ACS:  ACS sponsors speakers, events and policy debates with the goal of providing a progressive viewpoint. ACS is transforming legal and policy debates in classrooms, courtrooms, legislature and the media. Through these efforts, ACS aims to ensure American legal institutions reflect the highest values of our nation and serve the needs of its people.