Iowa voters often wonder how they should vote when they see the names of state judges on the general election ballot. To help guide them, The Iowa State Bar Association surveys lawyers who have regular contact with those judges in the courtroom.

Practicing lawyers are asked to rate judges they appear before on a number of factors, such as knowledge of the law and treatment of litigants. Then they are asked whether these judges should be retained.

The overwhelming majority of the 1,497 Iowa lawyers who participated in the Bar Association’s Judicial Performance Review in September said the 87 district judges, four court of appeals judges and four supreme court justices on the Nov. 3 ballot should be retained. 

View the 2020 Iowa Judicial Performance Evaluation

Historical Performance Evaluations results can be viewed here

Iowa’s judicial system is one of the finest in the country. Iowa’s merit selection and retention process keeps politics and campaign money out of our courts, safeguarding its fairness and impartiality. To keep it that way, Iowans from all political spectrums should resist efforts by out-of-state extremist groups who are funding efforts to politicize our courts. If politics and campaign money are allowed into the courts, justice will be for sale.

In the Balance Podcast - Iowa's Judicial Branch Podcast series "Get to know your Courts"

Keep Politics out of the Court Room

Know your Judges

"[Judges] rule on the basis of law, not public opinion, and they should be totally indifferent to pressures of the times."

Iowa's Fair and
Impartial Courts 

Warren E. Burger, Retired Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

"The law sometimes demands unpopular outcomes, and a judge who is forced to weigh what is popular rather than focusing solely on what the law demands has lost some independence and impartiality."

Sandra Day O'Connor

Retired U.S. Supreme court Justice

Turn your Ballot Over and Vote!