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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Vander Plaats: Fight to oust Iowa judges ‘most important election in our country’

By Jason Hancock | 08.06.10 | 11:36 am

Instead of mounting an independent bid for governor that he is sure would fail, Sioux City Republican Bob Vander Plaats will focus his efforts this fall on convincing Iowans the three Iowa Supreme Court Justices up for a retention vote on the Nov. 2 ballot should be kicked off the bench.

Photo: Dave Davidson,

“This election, in my opinion, to remove these judges is one of, if not the most important election in our country,” Vander Plaats said Friday morning at a news conference on the steps of the Iowa Judicial Building in Des Moines.

After his second-place finish in the GOP gubernatorial primary, Vander Plaats refused to endorse the party’s nominee, Terry Branstad, and began openly mulling a third-party run of his own. His last public appearance came during the Republican Party of Iowa Convention earlier this summer, where he and his supporters unsuccessfully tried to force Branstad to place Vander Plaats on the ticket as his lieutenant governor nominee.

Vander Plaats said he had long felt that running as an independent or third-party candidate was only an option if he could win, saying, “I’m not interested in being a spoiler.” But he once again refused to endorse Branstad, and when asked by The Iowa Independent if he’s spoken with his party’s nominee since the state convention, Vander Plaats said, “That’s private.”

Moving forward, Vander Plaats said he will begin forming the campaign to oust the judges — Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit — and plans to announce partner organizations and fundraising goals in the coming weeks.

“My question is whether out-of-state extremists are going to be funding this effort to tamper with our judicial system,” said Carolyn Jenison, executive director of the LGBT-rights group One Iowa. She pointed to reports that the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage plans to spend $1 million in Iowa this fall based around their opposition to same-sex marriage.

Vander Plaats said he can’t say at this point who will be involved, but expects to be raising money in Iowa and across the country for the effort.

Vander Plaats said this idea has been one he’s pondered dating back to his primary bid for governor, but it was a ruling by a federal judge overturning a voter-approved gay marriage ban in California that solidified the idea for him.

“If the judges can do this to marriage, every one of your freedoms is up for grabs,” Vander Plaats said, pointing to gun rights, freedom of speech and freedom of religion as possible future targets of a “runaway judiciary.”

While ousting the judges is important, Vander Plaats said Branstad needs to take another look at an idea that was the centerpiece of Vander Plaats gubernatorial bid: An executive order overturning the state Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling. Branstad said the idea was not legal and instead favored putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot declaring marriage as between one man and one woman.

Vander Plaats said Friday he still supports pushing for a constitutional amendment — and idea some former proponents are calling a pointless endeavor — but that it won’t be enough. The executive order, which has been dismissed as unconstitutional by legal scholars, has to be a part of the solution. Iowa should also change the way it selects judges, Vander Plaats said, and idea already being forwarded by Branstad.

Vander Plaats even questioned the unanimity of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, saying the “conspiracy theorist in me” thinks the Justices conspired to make a unanimous ruling “to protect their seats on the court.”

When asked when, and if, he ever plans to endorse Branstad, Vander Plaats said he has no timeline set on making that decision.

The new campaign to oust the judges won’t impact One Iowa’s strategy for the fall, Jenison said.

“While we take this effort seriously, we expect this will be another losing effort by Bob Vander Plaats,” she said. “Iowa’s courts have a long history of fairness and impartiality. The Varnum ruling is an excellent example of why our courts must remain independent and free from the ever-shifting political winds. The bottom line is that Iowans do not want politics anywhere near our courts.”

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  • JohnFreeman

    It's time for Bob Vander Plaats to get off the fence.

    Vander Plaats should definitely move forward and get his name placed on the ballot as an independent candidate for Governor.

  • dfflick

    I agree, John, but only because it will split the Republican voters and assure Culver's victory. Don't get me wrong, I think Culver is winning to begin with, but insurance would be nice.

    Targeting Supreme Court justices for applying the Constitution makes no sense. The days of unequal rights are dying, and Iowa will be better for the wear by being on the leading edge of progress.

  • RegularJoe

    Or, Bobby, we could pay attention to issues of relevance in the upcoming election. What is with you crazy cultists, anyway? I'm thinking coproencephaly.

  • marksutton

    I applaud Vander Plaats' courage. I live in California and have many relatives in Iowa and Minnesota. In California, we took out state Supreme Court justices decades ago. These kinds of judges are taking democracy away from the people. This is about the most fundamental principle of American govt., state or federal, namely the separation of powers. Unelected judges do not have the power to make law. This is not a matter of mere “disagreement” but instead a matter of judges violating the state or federal constitution in the most blatant way possible. THAT IS WHAT THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WAS ALL ABOUT, NAMELY SELF-GOVERNMENT, NOT GOVERNMENT BY A SELF-PROCLAIMED RULING CLASS. I applaud the citizens of Iowa who have the courage to take on power-grabbing judges and their ruling class friends. I hope they take those dictators out of their offices. That is precisely what impeachment procedures were intended to do in the federal system.

    If you doubt what I am saying read Federalist No. 79 which states that the impeachment of judges is “consistent with the necessary independence of the judicial character.” Also, Federalist No. 81 states that impeachment is a “complete security” against “judiciary encroachments on the legislative authority.” Finally, Federalist No. 65 says that impeachment proceedings are by their “nature” “POLITICAL.”


  • woodworking project plans

    I agree, John, but only because it will split the Republican voters and assure Culver’s victory. Don’t get me wrong, I think Culver is winning to begin with, but insurance would be nice.

  • woodworking project plans

    I agree, John, but only because it will split the Republican voters and assure Culver’s victory. Don’t get me wrong, I think Culver is winning to begin with, but insurance would be nice.

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