The recent visit to Elmhurst College by former Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus drew not only a good attendance to her lecture on Thursday, February 28, but also significant media coverage.
The evening before her lecture, Ternus appeared on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. The next day, she was interviewed on Chicago Public Radio’s The Morning Shift, and that evening her lecture was covered by the Windy City Times.
Ternus came to Elmhurst College to discuss The Politicization of Justice. She spoke before an audience of about 160 in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center.
After more than 17 years on Iowa’s high court, Justice Ternus lost her seat in the 2010 retention election as a direct result of the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2009 unanimous ruing in Varnum v. Brien—a ruling that struck down a state statute banning same-sex marriage. Ternus has stated that the Varnum ruling was about protecting the equal protection clause in the Iowa constitution and notes the significance of Varnum being a unanimous ruling. When recently asked whether she regrets the ruling that cost her a seat on the high court, Justice Ternus replied, “Not for one minute. Never. Ever. Not in the slightest.”
Justice Ternus was appointed to the court in 1993 by Governor Terry Branstad and selected by her peers to serve as chief justice in 2006. After loosing the 2010 retention election, Ternus has returned to private practice and focuses on appellate and litigation consulting and arbitration.