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UNI professor is expert on state supreme court issues


Scott Peters, associate professor, UNI political science, 319-273-2727,

Stacey Christensen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Iowa's Supreme Court already has three empty chairs, and some Iowans are calling for the remaining four justices to step down. Chuck Hurley, head of the conservative group The Family, and Bob Vander Plaats, conservative activist and former gubernatorial candidate, are leading the push. They believe that the recent retention election results are proof that the remaining justices should resign. Hurley has personally secured a meeting with Chief Justice Mark Cady in the coming weeks and says he will ask the chief justice to "pray and search his heart." He is then confident that Cady will step down.

Scott Peters, associate professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa, researches state supreme court elections and the interaction between the courts and public opinion. "It is clear that the justices of the Iowa Supreme Court believe that they correctly interpreted the Iowa Constitution in the Varnum case," said Peters. "The justices are, however, obviously aware that many in the public did not like their decision on same sex marriage and the recent overtures to meet with opponents of that decision may reflect a new strategy by the judiciary."

Peters says it's unlikely that the remaining justices will step down but believes that they will instead work on better transparency and a greater effort to explain their workings to the public. He noted that we are already seeing proof of greater transparency with the openness of the judicial nominating commission as it works to fill the current court vacancies.

For more information, contact Peters at 319-273-2727.