BasuBy Dale Mastrone

Rekha Basu, in her August 5, 2012, opinion piece in the Des Moines Register closed it with a statement “ …I’d love to be corrected..” In Ms Basu’s rant about what she claimed to be the GOP opening a door to a partisan judiciary because Iowa GOP Party chairman A.J. Spiker urged that Justice Wiggins should be not be retained on the Iowa Supreme Court by Iowa voters she goes and makes an allegation that the reason the Iowa Republican Party did not get into the mix back in 2010 was because two of the three Justices on the retention ballot and subsequently ousted by Iowa voters were Brandstad appointees, Marsha Ternus and Michael Streit.

At first blush it might appear that Ms Basu has failed to do her homework and look at the 21st Amendment to the Iowa Constitution. What it is in the real world is that the Governor is handed a list of three nominees for a vacancy in the Supreme Court. The Governor may choose one or none of the nominees within 30 days. If none are chosen by the Governor, then after 30 days the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court makes the appointment. Perhaps Ms Basu knew that prior to writing her piece but conveniently ignored inserting that into her column?

Ms Basu asserts in her opinion that the GOP position defies Iowa tradition of selecting judges on a non-partisan basis. Is Ms Basu an ET from Mars visiting Iowa for the first time? What part of partisan politic doesn’t she understand when it is a very strong majority of Democrats sitting on the nominating commission that sends the list of three nominees to the Governor whereas he or she can choose one or none of the Democrats nominated? And it is most likely to be Democrats nominated because Democrats have the majority of votes on the nominating commission. I humbly suggest that Ms Basu was actually aware of the fact that there is a definite partisan imbalance leaning to Democrats on the nominating commission well before she wrote her piece. What I assert is that some of Ms Basu’s statements might be considered as “half truths” upon examination. What I further urge is there is no such thing as a “half truth” – either it is whole truth or whole lie.

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