Iowa GOPer Branstad: Don’t Impeach State Justices Over Gay Marriage

Gov.-elect Terry Branstad (R-IA) has now taken a firm position on a push by some state legislators from his party to impeach state Supreme Court Justices who legalized same-sex marriage: He’s against it.

As the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports:

“I don’t think that impeachment is the appropriate remedy,” Branstad said in an interview.

“I think if you look and read the Constitution, which I have, I think it’s pretty obvious. The Constitution says what the grounds for impeachment are. My reading is it’s not there,” he said. “There’s a difference between malfeasance and over-reaching, I think. I really think that if people look at the Constitution, I think the remedy is that when they come up for retention that people have a chance to vote them out. I think that’s the appropriate remedy. I don’t think that impeachment is the appropriate remedy.”

Branstad had previously not taken a position on the impeachment drive, saying that it was the business of another branch of government, though he had also attacked the Democratic state Senate majority leader for refusing to hold a vote on a state constitutional amendment to re-outlaw gay marriage.

This past November, Iowa voters removed three state Supreme Court justices who had faced up-or-down retention elections, and who were heavily targeted by conservatives for their role in the unanimous 2009 ruling that legalized same marriage in the state.

Republicans made significant gains in the elections as well, with the former governor Branstad, who retired in 1998, coming back to defeat the incumbent Democratic Gov. Chet Culver. Republicans also took control of the Iowa state House of Representatives, while the Democrats narrowly held on to the state Senate.