Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will help defeat a movement to oust three Iowa judges who ruled in favor of gay marriage, the AP reported.

O'Connor, who opposes judicial elections, will speak on Wednesday about keeping courts free of politics. She'll be joined on the panel by Barry Griswell, former head of Principal Financial Group, Jan Laue, of the Iowa Federation of Labor, and Allan Vestal, dean of Drake University's school of law.

The low-lying campaign to remove the judges has been underway since the court's unanimous April 2009 ruling that brought gay marriage to the Midwest. But the effort has gained traction in the weeks since former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats announced plans to spearhead the movement. The Sioux City businessman has rented office space and hired six staffers to man his Iowa for Freedom campaign.

Voters will decide in November whether to keep Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit. The remaining four judges are not on the ballot this year.

Vander Plaats, a staunch opponent of gay marriage, says the judges should be removed because they overstepped their authority.

“They voided the law and it should have gone back to the legislature,” he said Sunday on KCCI's Newsmakers. “We saw the Supreme Court go outside its jurisdiction. The legislature is responsible for creating all laws. [Iowa for Freedom] truly believes the [court] usurped the will of the people.”

“All power is inherent in the people, not the courts,” he added. “This is a great civics lesson on who makes law, executes law and amends the constitution.”

Former Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark McCormick told Newsmakers host Kevin Cooney and Vander Plaats that the appropriate means of altering the decision is to amend the Iowa Constitution and that removing the judges will not reverse the ruling.

“You're presupposing without any basis in fact or in law that this court did not have jurisdiction to apply the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. But it does, and that's part of the judicial oath here,” McCormick said.

On the program, Vander Plaats refused to answer questions about who's funding his group. But social conservative groups the Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC), which endorsed Vander Plaats' gubernatorial campaign, and the anti-gay American Family Association (AFA) have contributed “several hundred thousand dollars,” Chuck Hurley, the IFPC's director said.

Three Republican 2012 presidential hopefuls have already endorsed the campaign.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum are in favor of axing the judges for deciding in favor of gay marriage.