For conservatives angry over the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous decision last year to legalize gay marriage, getting three of the seven justices booted from the bench just isn’t enough. Now, a handful of Republican lawmakers are now trying to impeach the remaining four.
The Iowa Independent reports that three freshmen members of the Iowa House are writing legislation to impeach those four justices. They’re joined by a freshman state senator, Kent Sorenson, who will sit on the judiciary committee and who has called the fight against same sex marriage “my generation’s defining moment.”
Such a move would require a majority vote in the House, followed by a two-thirds majority in the Senate. It’s unclear how much support there is for impeachment — a punishment generally reserved for judges who’ve committed a crime or other serious misconduct.But the incoming House speaker, Rep. Kraig Paulsen (R), told a radio station there that if impeachment is what the people want, impeachment is what the people will get.
Paulsen did tell the Des Moines Register, however, that he’s not sure that’s what the people want.
“I do not think one of the takeaways from the election is that Iowans, because they chose to fire three people, sent a message to the Iowa House that they want us to go in and fire the remaining four,” he said.
This fall, a conservative coalition funded by the country’s biggest anti-gay groups spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads and a bus tour to convince Iowans to vote against keeping the three Supreme Court justices who were up for retention. They were successful.
In Iowa, judges go up for retention every term. If voters vote “no,” the judges leave office and new judges are appointed.
The fight over the state’s supreme court is likely to continue being an issue through 2012. Bob Vander Plaats, who led the anti-retention campaign, has started a new Iowa-based group called The Family Leader, which aims to bring same sex marriage back to the national conversation. Likely presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has already spoken at a fundraiser for the new group.