Iowa Voters Say 'No' Laws from the Bench

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Iowa voters took their anger and directed it on Tuesday against three state Supreme Court justices who were part of the decision to overrule the state legislature and make gay marriage legal in the Hawkeye State.

Those three judges were up for a retention vote and for the first time since 1962, Iowans voted a justice off the bench. None of the three received the required 50 percent of the statewide vote to keep their jobs.

Some political analysts see this as the first blow by citizens who have had enough judicial activism -- courts deciding what the laws should be, often in open defiance of what legislatures or voters have decided.

Religious rights lawyer Kelly Shackelford told CBN News the vote in Iowa may have been one of the most important in Tuesday's election, because it could be the start of a war to return self-governance.

"We want to make our own decisions. We'll make them through our representatives when it comes to policy. But we don't want judges sitting on courts telling us what our laws will be, making up new laws. That is not the role of judges," he said.

"So I think this was really huge that you had three judges who were all up for retention and all three were rejected. That has never happened in the history of Iowa. And I think it not only sends a huge signal in Iowa that if you're going to be an activist judge, you're going to pay the price, but I think it sends a signal all across the country," Shackelford explained.

"When we see things like this judge in California overturning the vote of 7 million people on what the definition of marriage is, when we see people like these justices in Iowa, the people are reacting to that," he said. 

"We are not going to allow our judges to become our rulers. They're supposed to be judges. They're supposed to restrain themselves and follow the law. And I think the message is real clear that when they don't do that, there will be accountability," Shackelford added.

Iowa was the first state outside liberal New England to legalize gay marriage.

The pro-family groups in Iowa that led the fight to oust the justices have now begun to campaign for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in the Hawkeye State.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at