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.
2012 hopefuls support campaign to oust judges
Two potential Republican presidential candidates have waded into the debate over whether three Iowa Supreme Court Justices should be removed from the bench by voters this fall, with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty saying it is appropriate for voters to boot the judges over their ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats last week launched a campaign to convince Iowans to vote against retaining Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit because of the court’s unanimous 2009 ruling that Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act violated the state’s constitution. The decision effectively legalized same-sex marriage.
Vander Plaats called the effort the “most important election in our country,” an idea echoed by Gingrich.
“Iowans are unique in that they have the ability this fall to send a very clear and simple message that the court’s behavior is unacceptable by just voting ‘no’ on the three judges who are up for reappointment,” Gingrich said in an interview with WHO-AM. “If a majority of Iowans vote ‘no,’ that will send a signal to the whole country that there is a citizens revolt under way.”
Every time you turn around the “legal class has decided that it now has the right to dictate to the rest of us,” Gingrich said, adding: “We’re going to have to fundamentally revisit how we deal with judges because the judicial branch has grown much too powerful and much too dictatorial and now regularly over reaches in telling the rest of us how to live.”
During a visit to Iowa last month, Gingrich said the retention vote could be a “clarion call” to the left-wing legal secular elite.
Pawlenty, also in Des Moines to attend the Iowa State Fair, stopped short of formally endorsing Vander Plaats’ campaign but said there’s nothing wrong with voters ousting judges if they disagree with their rulings.
“The notion that judges stand for election is embedded in the Iowa Constitution. It’s embedded in the Minnesota Constitution,” Pawlenty said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s the right and privilege of the citizens of this state and my state to weigh in on whether they like or don’t like the job that a judge is doing and to agree or disagree with him.”
The public pronouncements stand in contrast to Republican gubernatorial hopeful Terry Branstad, who said through a spokesman Wednesday that he intends to stay out of the debate over whether Iowa voters should remove Supreme Court justices for legalizing gay marriage.
Earlier in the day, a bipartisan group calling itself Iowans for Fair and Impartial Courts announced it was forming in order to counter Vander Plaats’ campaign. The group — led by former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Scott Brennan, former Republican National Committee member Steve Roberts, and Bob Rafferty, who served Branstad’s chief of staff — says if judges are defeated merely as a result of “randomness or vindictiveness, it may lead to judges forming campaign committees in the future to make their cases.”