Iowa Legislators To Impeach Iowa Justices Who Voted For Same-Sex Marriage

For Republican legislators in Iowa, it was not enough that three state supreme court justices who voted to strike down a ban on gay marriage were recently defeated in their reelection bids after being targeted by conservatives. Now, legislators want to impeach the remaining four justices from the unanimous decision.

Former gubernatorial contender (and campaign chair for Mike Huckabee) Bob Vander Plaats led the effort to strip the Court of justices voting to recognize the civil liberties of homosexual couples.

As I mentioned in the closing argument in the Porteous case on the Senate floor, there has been an increase in demands for impeachment in both the federal and state systems. Removal on the basis of a particular ruling would be a monstrous abuse of impeachment power and an attack on the very foundations of an independent judiciary.

Source:The Hill

Jonathan Turley

41 thoughts on “Iowa Legislators To Impeach Iowa Justices Who Voted For Same-Sex Marriage”

  1. “Homosexual marriage is a state decision because the Constitution says nothing about federal authority in the matter.”

    There’s a hole in your reasoning into which a future federal court of appeals or SCOTUS ruling may one day drive a coach and horses. Just as SCOTUS did in Loving v. Virginia, when at stake was a state’s wish to prevent people with different skin colors marrying one another.

  2. Tootie needs more than an editor; dear God, what a revolting deluge of ignorance. I have never read such a diatribe on this site. Living in Tennessee, I personally know many “fundie Christians” but Tootie is in another league.

    Fundies are the last people who need to be commenting on any issues relative to human sexuality, and given that many of the ones I know are divorced and remarried, I feel they have no room to criticize anyone else, gay or straight, who wants to marry.

    “The people” have no business deciding who can or cannot marry; I would love to have had a vote in whether my brother should have married his shrew of a wife. I think the Founding Fathers would be appalled to see votes cast on such a personal matter as whom one can or cannot marry.

    Tootie needs to get his head out of his ass and meet some actual gay people and find out exactly what our lives are like — if any can be found who are not terminally repelled by such smug and arrogant piety and ignorance.

  3.’s late and I’m tired. My last sentence should read “But, as far as I can tell, that is NOT the case.”

    Sheesh, I need an editor.

  4. Mike:

    Awesome post. Thanks. Honestly.

    Look, I’m a fundie Christian so I support government, advocate the law, and abide by it. I am not an anarchist. I support the “system” as much as you do (probably more). But I believe there is a difference between judgment and righteous judgment. And that is what is at issue here, in my opinion. This case is about addressing unrighteous judgment based on falsehoods fed to the people of Iowa by leftists. That falsehood being the notion that equal protection is being denied to homosexuals.

    There is simply no reason a state cannot regulate marriage in whatever way it wishes as long as it doesn’t violate the federal constitution. And denying marriage to homosexuals doesn’t. In fact, the Constitution doesn’t even address the issue of marriage (therefore it automatically belongs to the states and/or the people).

    If the people of Iowa don’t want homosexual marriage they have that right.

    The judges don’t think the people have the right to decide this matter (they do). It would be the judges who have taken away any democratic process from the people by overturning the ban.

    Homosexual marriage is a state decision because the Constitution says nothing about federal authority in the matter.

    I am a Christian who believes that government is essential. And I am just as sure that evil government must be resisted and turned out of power. If there was merely a technical problem with the ban, and the judges were forced to run against it, I would agree with you that the call for impeachment was rash. But, as far as I can tell, that is the case.

  5. Tootie:

    Responding fully to your comments would require going in a lot of different directions, so let me focus on just two points.

    1. State and federal judiciaries are very different animals. Federal judges receive appointments that run, according to Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, “during good Behaviour.” As a practical matter, this is interpreted to mean an appointment for life, unless grounds exist for impeachment. The phrase “good behavior” is of ancient English common law origin, and was used in connection with grants or appointments by the king to all sorts of positions. Strictly speaking, one who holds office during “good behavior” is subject to being removed if he or she engages in bad behavior, which traditionally need not involve actual criminal conduct. But beyond that it is a bit murky. Obvious examples would include refusing to attend court proceedings, or declining to rule on cases. Removal for bad behavior still required a trial and the presentation of witnesses and evidence. For a variety of historical and practical reasons, American jurisprudence has come to accept impeachment as the appropriate method for removing a federal judge. The impeachment standard, under Article II, Section 4, is “Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” This is effectively a criminal standard. Even in the absence of formal impeachment, however judges have been forced to resign for a number of reasons.

    2. State court judges are either appointed or elected, and do not hold lifetime appointments. They can be removed from office a number of ways. First, there is impeachment, of course. The Iowa statute clearly contemplates that impeachment will be appropriate only when there has been wrongdoing by a judge, as opposed to incompetence, for example. Judges who are elected must stand for re-election, and are not infrequently defeated by challengers. Appointed judges typically are subject to periodic retention votes, in which voters determine whether they should be retained in office or removed. No cause for removal is necessary. Indeed, the four Iowa justices lost their positions when they came up for retention. The remaining justices will come up for retention in due course and can be removed at that time, if that is the will of the voters. Finally, state court judges are subject to removal through quasi-judicial proceedings initiated by judicial qualifications committees acting upon complaints by lawyers, other judges or members of the public. Judges have been removed from office for offensive conduct toward litigants and attorneys, mental and emotional problems and other non-criminal reasons.

    In short, there are a number of methods for removing judges. My concern in the Iowa case was that the decision was unanimous. This was not an example of a rogue majority running roughshod. The opinion was well-reasoned and thorough. Iowa voters reacted strongly, as they had the right to do. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that a rush to judgment by the voting public is as dangerous to democracy as a rush to judgment in a court of law. When all of the justices agree on a ruling, that ruling is deserving of respectful analyis, and if the analysis produces a consensus that an amendment to the statutes or to the state constitution is desirable, the appropriate methods to accomplish that may be pursued. The legislative and executive branches are the fields on which politics is played. We do not need a judiciary which moves with the political winds because that will ultimately lead to uncertainty, inconsistency and instability in the law.

  6. And what is all of you HOMOPHOBES problems? We have lots of money and there are more of us that you think. Right honey!

  7. Mike:

    One crucial correction is needful. I wrote

    “And that is why I charge negligence on the part of members of academia (mostly government run) and the justice system for failing to teach the public this precious power–a power for them to DO themselves (your lynching) but a power to learn about and LOBBY for and participate in bringing to the forefront. A power to utilize.”

    The correction appears in brackets in the version below:

    “…members of academia (mostly government run) and the justice system for failing to teach the public this precious power–[-]a power for them to [NOT] DO themselves (your lynching) but a power to learn about and LOBBY for…”

  8. Mike:

    I’m sure I don’t know the proper term or terms to use and so I accept your correction for using “extra-legal”.

    What I was trying to express was that impeachment, the original purpose of it, is a way to remove an official who hasn’t committed any illegal acts. Originally it was, for example, for removing a mentally or morally disturbed person. Of course, becoming senile is not a crime. But ruling on life and death cases while senile could be very bad and impeachment is the tool to stop such a tragedy.

    This is what I was referring to with the concept of extra-legal. I meant it to express removal for conduct NOT criminal.

    And what I propose is not lynching.

    It appears you have misused that word more than I misused the term extra-legal. I trust you haven’t used it dishonestly to slander me or paint me as a dangerous person who should targeted by officials. Removing a judge from office for his or her inability to judge isn’t the same as hanging him from a tree. He will simply have to find another job. A lynching victim can never.

    In most of my comments here on the matter of impeachment I insist on lawyers, judges, and scholars educating the public about impeachment. A lynch-mob (i.e. me, allegedly) isn’t interested in educating the public. I have referred to scholars, Raouel Berger, for example, to support my arguments for impeachment of bad judges (consistently bad rulings, unconstitutional rulings). The Constitution itself refers to good behavior as being a general rule of thumb. That good behavior thing is what I am driving at. And it isn’t just about using good manners and being a law abiding judge. It also covers the problem of usurpatious judges. The country and the justice system are now so utterly corrupt, it cannot be logical that so few judges have not yet been impeached. They could not have stood for so long in good behavior while the whole edifice around them is collapsing. No. Indeed. The must be and are at the center of the collapse. What you talk about is not wanting judges to fully take responsibility for the bad behavior (unjust and unconstitutional, even treasonous acts) by having the public keep track of judges.

    If the court is rife with bad judges (bad judges upholding bad judges and bad judgments being upheld by more bad judgments) there is no other way for the people to protect themselves except by impeachment. And that is why I charge negligence on the part of members of academia (mostly government run) and the justice system for failing to teach the public this precious power–a power for them to DO themselves (your lynching) but a power to learn about and LOBBY for and participate in bringing to the forefront. A power to utilize. A power to check the abuses by the court. Without the people behind it, it is virtually no power.

    Far too many judges believe themselves to be like gods onto themselves. This is ripping apart the country and trampling any virtuous notion of justice. There is NO better way to stop this than for the public to be all over it. Judges ought not to be allowed to hide. They refuse to let us hide. They must be brought out into the light and exposed (through communications systems) as much as they allow us to be exposed (surveillance, surrender of medical records to D.C., spying, etc). We are now a totalitarian police-state only awaiting the next major disaster for full implementation. What, pray tell, have the judges been doing in the interim EXCEPT helping to bring it to fruition?

    With the advent of the internet (if we can keep the Democrats/fascists/leftists/progressives from shutting down its freedom) there should be an impeachment clearing house of sorts developed. There, citizens could find all the historical information needed to teach themselves what government schools, government colleges, lawyers educated in government schools, and judges educated in government schools have sought to hide from from them about impeachment and the power the people have to lobby for it.

    There should be organizations and think tanks formed to target certain judges. Evidence should be produced. All of it should be transparent. There needs to be foundations developed to teach impeachment to the public. Some of this should have started long ago.

    Judges need to come out into the light. They consider themselves superior to us. They need to think otherwise. They need to be able to withstand a fully public review of their conduct. Opponents on every side will have their own experts to lead and guide: blogs, scholars, lawyers, etc. They need to strong enough to stand in broad daylight and be examined.

    If judges recoil at the thought of being held responsible by the people they impact then they need to find other work in which making mistakes doesn’t warrant so great a correction (getting fired/not getting lynched).

  9. pete:

    You said “other peoples sexuality ain’t none of your damn business.”

    I might agree with you if that is where the matter ended. But it isn’t. No, indeed. For example, homosexuals want public schools to teach about homosexuality to other peoples’ little children. Just whose damn business is that anyway?

    Homosexuals demand to be represented on TV shows, commercials, and advertising–not as people, but as same-sexers. They want representation in law, not just as people, but as homosexuals. They have parades in public on account only of sexuality. All of this IS my damn business because it occurs in public. I wish it weren’t my damn business because it is for the most part utterly revolting.

    When all this first began, it was homosexuals who were the ones demanding that they be allowed to do what they wish in the bedroom. But now it is they who have dragged the bedroom out into the public square. Now they turn around and demand we not stare (mind our own damn business).

    And so, this isn’t just about what goes on behind closed doors anymore and letting it be. Now it is about my having to watch. And now that they have flung open the bedroom door it is a bit too late to trust the same people making smart-aleck remarks about me minding my own damn business. The homosexuals and their groupies have made it IMPOSSIBLE. Which, I trust, was their whole intention in the first place.

    This is like similar deranged thinking on left. For decades abortion (also having to do with sexuality) was no ones business. It resulted from private sexual activity behind closed doors and the dirty deed (the abortion) was alleged to be private activity between a woman and her doctor. Now (wait for it), low and behold (wait for it), leftist women discovered (wait for it), that government could FUND their abortions and make me pay for it. How? (wait for it). By surrendering all their private medical care to some mindless faceless bureaucrats in D.C.

    So much for privacy. It was never their goal.

    The precious privacy they lauded in an effort to slaughter the offspring of their vile low-life rutting was immediately tossed out the window the moment it was discovered my pockets could be picked for it. It is no longer between the woman and her doctor. It is now between the woman, her doctor, a government goon, and me, the taxpayer.

    Anything for money. That’s the way of the typical Democrat/leftist/progressive/Marxist/scum.

    So, I’ve now learned that the vaunted rights of leftists really has nothing to do with liberty. They have to do with the pursuit of immorality. And license. And some alleged right to do wrong and get away with it.

    It is not I who is making the issue someone elses damn business. It is THEY who are. THEY are making it MY business.

    I had nothing to do with it.

  10. You have to base your argument on something else otherwise it can be easily ripped apart. But, frankly, I don’t think there are any solid arguments for it.

    how about this one
    other peoples sexuality ain’t none of your damn business.

  11. Tootie:

    At the risk of sounding pertinent, I suggest that impeachment is not an “extra-legal” tool and that the process is hardly a secret kept from the public. The procedure is not intended, however, to operate as a kangaroo court. Nor can it be legitimately employed to get rid of judges because an opinion happens to contradict the views of a majority of citizens. That is why impeachment statutes specify the grounds for which the remedy is available. The process you describe could perhaps be more accurately labeled a lynching party.

  12. QE,

    If it makes you feel any better, pretty much anyone who isn’t Tootie gets compared to a murderer or Hitler at some point or another.

  13. ” “Denial” is not necessarily the appropriate argument for determining what is right or wrong, just or unjust.” (Tootie)

    Do you have any idea how funny that statement is coming from you? Probably not. There, I asked and answered my own question so no need to respond.

    I trust your holidays will be free of murderous, rampaging Democrats’, dangerous, extremist, seditious judges, and homosexuals who aren’t Hitler … praise Jesus!

  14. Tootie:

    so you compare homosexuality to murder? Not hardly. Murder is force used against another. Homosexuality is a choice I make (or is made for me if you don’t believe in free will). I am harming no one and no one is harming me.

    I am not coercing others by force to become homosexual. But apparently you would force me to become straight.

    What is at stake here is individual rights, if you can force me to be straight then someone else can force you to do something you don’t want to. Or the state can force people to do things against their nature which are perfectly compatible with a civilized society.

    So in essence what you are proposing is totalitarianism. And you seemed so libertarian. Unfortunately you are merely a subset of all the others who would deny an individual the right to exist as he chooses.

  15. Tony:
    Correct. Leave the whole matter (pro or con) to the states. Same with abortion. Feds are to butt out. Let the states and the people decide.

    Actually the feds are authorized to protect life (due process). The fetus out to be protected. But, violating the Constitution never gets in the way of Democrats’ murderous rampage acrosse the planet.

  16. Queer Eye

    I’m sure Hitler or Jeffrey Dahlmer didn’t want to be denied their feelings either. I believe they went to their graves not wanting to be denied. And I believe their feelings where natural to some, if not many, members of the human race.

    I am not saying homosexuals are Hitler. What I am saying is that, clearly, even evil people have some sort of feeling similar to not wanting to be denied what they can or cannot do. “Denial” is not necessarily the appropriate argument for determining what is right or wrong, just or unjust.

    I am certain of this: murder is just as natural and normal to the human race as are the stars to heaven. There is no evidence whatsoever in the 6,000 year written record of the human race that it has ever been otherwise. None. Murder is totally natural to the humans species. Why then should we deny this to those who express their natural murderous urges? Who are we to deny them what is a natural human behavior?

    Clearly, murder is a human trait. It is not expressed among all its members, but as a species, it is distinctly human. It has been with us ever since we wrote down who we were as a species. It is one of our most profound and prominent traits. The urge for it is clearly irresistible.

    Therefore, you and I (people who do not possess this trait like some of our fellow humans do) can easily establish that some of the most distinctive natural human behaviors are not only outright wrong, but absolutely evil.

    We are thus forced to admit that some human conduct, though totally natural, may be utterly wrong and evil. Therefore, because certain conduct is natural to the human species it doesn’t automatically mean that it is good. If so we would need to open all the prison doors because theft, murder, kidnapping, assault, and rape are all exceedingly common and naturally occurring behaviors among humans.

    If we let nature take its natural course, we would we not deny the thief, the violent, or the brute.

    But those of us without such pronounced evil traits banned together to deny those with more natural “evil” traits like murder their urges. We decided long ago (and this is a natural and distinct human trait) to punish or limit other natural human traits. This is the core of the debate between you and I: which natural traits are we to discourage.

    Here and only here is the debate most likely to find its real meaning. It will not be about the the rabbit trail of “denial”. Or “choice”. It will be about that which has a negative impact on civilization on the order of other negative human traits we have customarily discouraged or even punished.

    Does homosexuality have a similar negative impact? That is question. The question is not about “denial”.

    You have to base your argument on something else otherwise it can be easily ripped apart. But, frankly, I don’t think there are any solid arguments for it.

  17. “There is NO power whatsoever given anywhere in the Constitution for the federal government to regulate marriage.”

    Am I to understand that you’re expressing opposition to Federal DOMA? If so, Kudos!

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