After having successfully led a campaign to oust three of the justices who in 2009 ruled that Iowa’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, Iowa’s religious conservative House lawmakers have now launched impeachment proceedings against the remaining four justices who were part of the decision.
From the Iowa Independent:
Iowa House Republicans drew an immediate negative reaction late Thursday when they filed four articles of impeachment, one for each remaining member of the Iowa Supreme Court that participated in an April 2009 decision that struck down a legislative ban on same-sex marriage as a violation of the state’s equal protection clause.
The four House resolutions target Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady (HR 48) and Justices Brent Appel (HR 47), Daryl Hecht (HR 49) and David Wiggins (HR 50) for “malfeasance in office” specifically for their ruling in the Varnum v. Brien case, saying that each justice “exercis[ed] functions properly belonging to the legislative and executive departments.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines, a member of Democratic leadership, immediately challenged House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) and Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer (R-Garner) to speak against the actions taken by their caucus members.
“I issue the following challenge to Speaker Paulsen and Majority Leader Upmeyer on the proposed impeachment of the remaining Supreme Court Justices … either publicly condemn your own Republican members as well as members of the Republican Party for offering this outrageous, extremist proposal … or allow a full and open impeachment proceeding for all Iowans to consider knowing House Democrats will use every available procedural tool to shut down the Iowa House and defeat this right-wing effort,” said McCarthy.
Moves to oust the justices has been the subject of fierce political debate on the implications of such tactics and how this is part of a larger agenda to remove judges that do not rule in the favor of religious conservative values.
The move to impeach has also been cause for concern given that the campaign was financed by powerful out-of-state groups including the National Organization for Marriage which has contributed to efforts to defeat gay marriage in other states like Maine.
Republican lawmakers say that Democrats in the Senate who hold the majority and have blocked attempts at a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, are going against the will of the people in not allowing a referendum on the gay marriage issue.
Regardless, it is unlikely that the Democratic senate leadership will allow the articles of impeachment to proceed.
Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Jeff Belmonte.