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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

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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

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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.

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GOP lawmakers drafting legislation to impeach Supreme Court justices

Speaker-elect Paulsen has said he won't stand in the way
By Jason Hancock | 12.17.10 | 8:28 am

Three freshmen Republican members of the Iowa House are drafting legislation that would begin the process of impeachment for the remaining four justices on the state Supreme Court over a 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

State Reps. Tom Shaw (R-Laurens), Glen Massie (R-Des Moines) and Kim Pearson (R-Pleasant Hill) are working on the legislation that could result in the removal of the four justices — Mark Cady, David Wiggins, Daryl Hecht and Brent Appel. During last month’s judicial retention vote, three justices were removed from the bench after a contentious campaign that saw five out-of-state anti-gay organizations spend nearly $1 million to oust the judges.

The impeachment effort got a boost Wednesday when Speaker-elect Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) said if he thought Iowans wanted the four justices removed, he would not stand in the way. A few days earlier, state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R-Indianola), who will sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will also push for impeachment proceedings.

Paulsen was immediately criticized by LGBT-rights group One Iowa, who called his remarks “reckless.” Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) said unless Paulsen has some evidence that the justices committed a “misdemeanor or malfeasance,” the legislature should focus its efforts on job creation, not impeachment.

According to the Iowa Constitution, a justice can be impeached “for any misdemeanor or malfeasance in office.” If the House passes articles of impeachment by a simple majority, a trial will be held in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority is needed for a judge to be removed.

“Are Republicans really considering shutting down state government to pursue an extreme, partisan agenda that will do nothing to help middle class families?” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines) said in a statement to The Iowa Independent. “The House has no business spending weeks on impeachment proceedings instead of putting Iowans back to work and growing our economy.”

Ben Stone, executive director of the ACLU of Iowa, called Paulsen’s statements about impeachment “shocking.”

“His willingness to support the impeachment of public servants who have done nothing illegal or fraudulent if it is politically popular to do so, is not only highly regrettable, it is beneath the dignity of a leader of his stature and experience,” he said. “Many Iowans are asking themselves how far these attacks on the judiciary are going to go. They are baffled at how experienced, thoughtful people who surely understand the distinct roles of the three branches of our 164 year-old government can nonetheless endorse the notion that judges should be removed for political reasons.”

Paulsen spoke with the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s Todd Dorman about his statements, saying impeachment won’t be on the Iowa House’s agenda unless Iowans put it there.

“If Iowans get excited about it and start communicating that. It’s no different than any other question before us,” Paulsen said. “I don’t have reservations about doing what Iowans want us to do.”

He told Dorman that thus far the reaction to his comments have been overwhelmingly in support of keeping the judges on the bench.

Bob Vander Plaats, who led the anti-retention campaign and now serves as president and CEO of The Family Leader, said Iowans have already spoken on the issue.

“I think Iowans let their voice be heard on Nov. 2,” Vander Plaats said in an interview with The Iowa Independent. “The 540,000 who voted ‘no’ would have voted ‘no’ on all seven. All seven would have been off. I think Speaker-elect Paulsen has the answer he’s looking for. I think Iowans would love to see the remaining judges removed.”

However, the justices should avoid the lengthy impeachment process and instead resign on their own, Vander Plaats said.

“Resignation is the best step and the most dignified step for the judges,” he said. “They have to realize that there was a vote of no confidence for all seven.”

The ACLU’s Stone previously said Vander Plaats’ call for the justices to resign is about revenge, not good government.

“Calling for these resignations is premature,” he said. “These four justices will eventually come up for retention votes. Until those elections take place, the justices should do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Calling for their resignations now demonstrates little more than a push for retribution.”

Follow Jason Hancock on Twitter


Comments

  • Anonymous

    Wow…just wow…….This is very extreme. Impeach justices that have done nothing wrong……just because they ruled on a judgment that some people disagree with.

    What happens if you and I did something that was not against the law but someone did not like. Would we be going to jail? Impeachment and jail are two different areas but the realities are very closely tied.

  • Anonymous

    Here is my full statement:

    The following can be attributed to Ben Stone, Executive Director:

    The remarks of Speaker-Elect Paulson are truly shocking. His willingness to support the impeachment of public servants who have done nothing illegal or fraudulent IF it is politically popular to do so, is not only highly regrettable, it is beneath the dignity of a leader of his stature and experience.

    Many Iowans are asking themselves how far these attacks on the judiciary are going to go. They are baffled at how experienced, thoughtful people who surely understand the distinct roles of the three branches of our 164 year-old government can nonetheless endorse the notion that judges should be removed for political reasons.

    The people of Iowa are looking for – and ultimately will rely on – integrity and guidance from leaders like Speaker-Elect Paulson on issues that strike at the core our system of government. Based on his reputation as a man of integrity, a great many people in both political parties, and at points all along the Iowa political spectrum, expect that he will ultimately provide such leadership, and the State of Iowa will be better for it.

    Regardless of what he elects to do, the ACLU of Iowa will do all in its power to defend and support the structure and integrity of a constitutional system which has helped preserve the civil rights and individual freedoms of Iowans since 1846.

  • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

    Paulsen: “If Iowans get excited about it and start communicating that”

    OK, I’m an Iowan and I’m excited about impeaching you because you are wasting our tax dollars pursuing your bigotry. So it should be any day now that an impeachment vote against you will come to the floor?

    • Anonymous

      Second!

  • http://www.facebook.com/albert.bregar Albert Bregar

    You obviously have not been paying much attention. The desire to impeach the justices stems from more than just Varnum v. Brien. The drive to impeach the justices really stems from the fact that the Justices have consistently overstepped their constitutional limitations. They have usurped powers specifically delegated to the other branches of state government by the Constitution. This is the reason that the drive is on to impeach these Justices. You can howl bigotry all you want, but at the end of the day the people of Iowa can and will understand that it is nothing more than a smokescreen used by supporters of judicial oligarchy.

    • Anonymous

      Actually, the smoke screen is one yoy are generating, mainly trying to pretend that there was any other motivating factor behind the recall campaign than anti-gay prejudice. The fundmental fact was that religious right groups disagreed with it, and launched a campaign to take them out of office.

      There is simply no way to argue that they usurped authority in that case, as they performed the proper role of judicial review, and correctly found unconstitutional laws banning same-sex marriage.

    • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

      I’ve been paying a lot of attention. This was all about homophobia.

  • Anonymous

    Why have judges at all? Let’s just give in to all those ignorant concerned Iowans who are upset when faced with American freedom, fairness, liberty and justice. Remove all judges and courts because lots of people are not happy with their judgements. Seal the state borders and see how long they last.

    • http://www.facebook.com/albert.bregar Albert Bregar

      Based on your comments I have to ask this question. Are you stupid?
      The driving force behind the desire to impeach the justices is because they have repeatedly violated the Constitution of the State of Iowa. Please read my response to Mr. Miessner above if you would like to understand exactly what is going on.

      • Anonymous

        We ALL know the driving force behind this impeachment, and it has nothing to do with the claptrap you are talking about. It’s simply some Iowans upset at seeing America, becoming land of the free, even for homosexuals.

        • http://www.facebook.com/albert.bregar Albert Bregar

          Thank you for answering my question. Like I pointed out to Mr. Miessener above, the Iowa Supreme Court has repeatedly violated our state’s constitution. It has nothing to do with gay marriage and everything to do with abiding by the state constitution.

          • Anonymous

            Ohh please – IF Vanderscum and his Radical Religious Nutjobs…weren’t so Hellbent with thier anti-gay agenda….NONE of this would ever have been an issue….zero! The bottom line – they (Fake Christians) did NOT LIKE the fact that ALL 7 judges rules that ALL Iowans be treated Equally..and THAT is what started this whole Vote on retention thing.

          • http://www.facebook.com/albert.bregar Albert Bregar

            Oh goody, we have a mind reader here. Sir you might want to study the constitution before you start slinging accusations. While the DOMA law may have violated the equal protection the Iowa Supreme Court itself violated the Constitution. It seems that the Court has a penchant for doing that as they have done it in many of the cases that it has tried this year. For instance in Varnum they usurped the power of both the legislative and executive branches, a clear violation of Article III Section 1 of the Iowa Constitution. In Galloway v. Iowa they again violated the Constitution by again usurping the power of the legislative branch of Iowa Government.

          • Anonymous

            Mr. Bregar, You repeatedly say the Iowa Supreme Court usurped powers reserved to the legislature or executive, but you’ve not clearly explained how. Saying over and over that the Court has usurped authority of other branches doesn’t make it true.

      • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

        Your response above is wrong as your response here. Nursling was sarcastic, not stupid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Edward-Miessner/100000503487448 Edward Miessner

    So now following the requirements of Article III, Section 2 of the US Constitution as affirmed by Marbury v Madison is now judicial oligarchy! Yet the founding fathers knew that with out the courts saying the last word, the end result would be mob rule. Well, I guess that’s what some people want and if they had their way, liberty will die… to thunderous applause!

    • http://www.facebook.com/albert.bregar Albert Bregar

      Mr. Miessner, I don’t know where you have been hiding. Liberty has been dying a slow death as the power of unelected, mostly unaccountable judges have been growing in power. What we have in the Supreme Court is a seven judges that have repeatedly overstepped the limitations place on the court by the Constitution. Article III Section 1 of the Iowa Constitution clearly states that “The powers of the government of Iowa shall be divided into three separate departments–the legislative, the executive, and the judicial: and no person charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any function appertaining to either of the others.” In the cases of Varnum v. Brien and Galloway v. Iowa; the Iowa Supreme Court usurped the power delegated to the legislative branch. And in Varnum the Court also usurped the power of the executive branch. It is in the best interest of all parties involved, whether they be gay or straight, to replace the existing Justices with a new batch with the appropriate reverence for our founding documents.

      • Republican

        OK, I’m not from Iowa, and I support the judiciary getting involved in this area, but for purposes of the present debate, I looked into this Galloway v. State of Iowa case you are talking about.

        Whether or not you agree with it, the Galloway decision was handed down on November 5th, 2010. That’s three days after the election. No one knew how the three justices who were ousted were going to rule at that time. Thus, while you can perhaps use it to support your impeachment argument, it’s obviously irrelevant to the issue of why the first three justices were ousted. That leaves us with the marriage decision of the examples you gave. How do you explain what happened to those three if it wasn’t all about that case? Do you have other cases or example that support your position?

        • Anonymous

          Oh, I like you. Move to Iowa! We’ll send your state one of our fine, fine public servants. Um, you haven’t heard of Bob VanderPlaats, have you?

          Albert, we have three branches. We have the executive, in charge of running the state. We have the legislative, in charge of making the laws. And we have the judicial, in charge of interpreting the laws that are made, and the Constitution, which trumps all. The judiciary did not write a new law, as so many people ignorantly claim. They did not usurp a legislative power. They overruled a law that violated the Constitution. THIS IS THEIR JOB.

          If you have examples of the judiciary exercising legislative or executive powers, I’m eager to hear about them. But the last election focussed solely on the decision to strike down the ‘Defense of Marriage’ as unconstitutional. This was not an abuse of position; it certainly wasn’t an act of legislation, because THEY DIDN’T MAKE A NEW LAW. And it was necessary, because our state’s constitution does not allow discrimination.

          If you can’t unbunch your panties over the fact that you’re lucky enough to live in a state that believes discrimination is wrong, and has stuck by those guns for pretty much its entire history, please feel free to move.

      • Anonymous

        Actually, Albert, how about Article I, sec 6 of the Iowa Constitution: “All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the general assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens.” That’s what the justices interpreted in Varnum, holding that this guarnatee of equal protection was denied to same sex couples.

        But, you say they don’t have the power to do this? Funny, let’s go back to the constitution, Article V, sec 4 “The supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction only in cases in chancery, and shall constitute a court for the correction of errors at law, under such restrictions as the general assembly may, by law, prescribe; and shall have power to issue all writs and process necessary to secure justice to parties, and shall exercise a supervisory and administrative control over all inferior judicial tribunals throughout the state.”

        Because any law that conflicts with the State Constitution is void (Article XII, sec 1) it IS a correction of an error at law for the Court to rule that law unconstitutional, and thus void. Moreover, as you can see above, the Constitution gives the Court the power to issue all writs necessary to effectuate its rulings (such as an injunction or writ of mandamus requiring county recorders to issue marriage licenses.)

        Your version of “separation of powers” would create a wholly impotent court that fills nothing more than a purely advisory role, leaving the legislature and executive with the real power to interpret the constitution.

      • Anonymous

        Oh, and as to Galloway, it is utterly unremarkable for the court to hold in a tort case that a pre-injury release of liability is unenforceable, particularly when the release is on behalf of a person who didn’t sign it/was not competent to sign it. In fact, this is the majority rule adopted by most state courts across the U.S.

        Torts are traditionally a creature of the courts, not of statutes. Negligence, battery, malpractice, etc. as civil actions are frequently modified by statute, but from the very inception of our country (and long, long before) these actions existed in common law not statutory law. It is you, sir, who wishes to radically revise the last 200+ years of this Republic’s governing philosophy.

      • Anonymous

        BTW, for all of you wondering what hideous act of legislative usurption this Galloway v Iowa embodies, let me sum up:

        The Court evaluated a case contending that a parent’s waiver of liability for injury for their offspring on a field trip was invalid should the child actually be injured. The sides of contention were 14 year old Taneia Galloway, who was in fact injured (contention is that the mother’s signature on the waiver does not make the waiver enforceable), versus the state (the waiver is a legal agreement signed by the child’s legal representative, and therefore binding). The sides essentially are arguing contract law vs public policy in regard to the rights and protections of children. They decided on the side of Galloway, but with the following qualification: “In the final analysis, we conclude the strong
        public policy favoring the protection of children‟s legal rights must
        prevail over speculative fears about their continuing access to activities.
        We are mindful that if we have misapprehended the public policy
        considerations at work on this issue, the political branches of our
        government will adopt a different rule.” NOTE THAT THEY LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN FOR LEGISLATION ON THIS DECISION.

        There were two dissenters. You know which two? Cady and Ternus. They stated ” The question
        whether it is imprudent as a matter of law for a parent to waive legal
        liability on behalf of a child as a condition for the child‟s participation in an educational field trip is a matter for the legislature, not judges. If the
        subject of parental field trip waivers has surfaced in this state as a
        matter of public concern, the legislature can properly examine the issue
        and take any appropriate action.” Again, putting it in the hands of the Legislature.

        To read the full decision, go here: http://www.iowacourts.gov/Supreme_Court/Recent_Opinions/20101105/08-0776.pdf

        Now Albert, I’m guessing you haven’t read this. But if you have, please explain how this supports your claims that the Supreme Court rides roughshod over legislative rights? Because it kinda seems to say ‘Ball in your court, Legos!’ from both sides. But the two most lambasted judges, Ternus, who was Chief Justice, and Cady, who wrote the text of the ruling overturning DOMA, seem to be the ones most insistent that the Legislature should step up on this one. You know, in the case that Iowa’s biggest worry right now is field trip waivers.

  • Republican

    I’m not from Iowa, but I want to voice my support for all seven judges who backed marriage. It took courage for the justices to do what they did. Unfortunately, three of them have already been removed. Let us hope that the remaining four keep their seats.

    As a conservative, I firmly believe that liberty and freedom are for all. As a Christian, I believe in loving others. It doesn’t matter if you are left-handed, gay, mentally challenged, or just perceived as odd. All human beings have basic fundamental rights. We hurt ourselves as well as others when we fail to recognize that.

    If anyone knows a group that is actively (and effectively) fighting against this impeachment attempt, please let me know, because I’d like to support them however I can.

    • Anonymous

      Republican, THANK YOU for representing your conservative but not fanatical brethren in this. Somehow, the voice of conservatives in Iowa has been drowned out by the shriking of the D-baggers…I mean, tea-baggers….wait, is that better? who demonstrate their perverse version of ‘Christi(ns)anity’ by hating gays for all they’re worth, and bashing those who think sexual orientation isn’t a crime. Once upon a time, being Republican meant you wanted the budget to balance. Now, the whole party is being smeared with the tarry brush so very deserved by these wackjobs. Moderate conservatives, don’t let this happen! Yours is the party of Lincoln, for ‘s sake! The Dems may have FDR, but come on, freakin’ Lincoln!

      This move to impeach judges for DOING THEIR JOB is embarrassing, petty, damaging to our separation of powers, an insult to all thinking, reading Iowans, a step towards discrimination from a state that has led the charge in denying discrimination, harmful to our economy, harmful to our courts, harmful to every individual awaiting a decision from a higher court, harmful to every minority, disastrous for the wronged, and an utter denial of our state’s core values, as declared so proudly on our flag: “Our Liberties we prize, and our Rights we will maintain.” Note that the motto does not say “Unless you’re gay,” anymore than it says “Unless you’re black, female, want to be in a racially mixed marriage, Buddhist, or otherwise somehow causing distress to ignorant bigots who will never need to meet you in person before they start judging, condemning, hating, and disenfranchising you.”

      Republican, I invite you to check out http://www.justicenotpolitics.org/
      You will notice this is a bipartisan group, formed by some pretty highly placed politicos and supported by a ridiculous number and variety of groups. As a sensible Iowan, we appreciate your support.

      • Republican

        Thank you for the link. I’ll check it out.

        It is indeed very frustrating to see so many on my side of the aisle spew such filth. I do speak out against the bigots (in public protests, not just on blogs) and donate money to the few brave republican politicians who are willing to put their jobs on the line by doing the right thing, but there is only so much one man can do. Far too many people act like gay people are monsters instead of human beings. Sadly, I don’t think some of them will ever change their minds.

        Regarding the tea partiers… I actually went to a tea party rally around the time the whole movement first started. Overall, it wasn’t that bad, but it also wasn’t for me. I didn’t see any bigoted or racist signs (and from what I hear, those are actually pretty rare), but the general atmosphere was not one that I felt very comfortable in. I spend my weekends at the opera, not the racetrack, if you get my drift.

        I am aware of Iowa’s strong record of being on the right side of the equal rights debate throughout history. I hope though that the trend of Iowa making the right decision decades before the rest of the country doesn’t continue. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong. It was wrong 50 years ago and it is today. It must end now. Let us pray that Justice Kennedy and at least four other justices on the SCOTUS do the right thing when the issue comes before them in about two years. If they don’t, I fear that it will be decades before this country treats gay people fairly and that would be a terrible shame.

        • Regina1959

          Thank you for being level headed.You are a breath of fresh air among the Republicans. I was beginning to think that most Republicans hate everything and anyone who were not “religious” enough to be considered a human being. Thank you for your sensibility.

        • Anonymous

          Ditto Regina. So which state are you from? I want to know which one to elevate in my mental ranking of decent versus suck.

        • Anonymous

          You are sounding pretty much like an Independent, perhaps you should rethink you political affiliation? Conservative, most independents are. Liberal, most independents are. That is the quandary, while being for smaller and more efficient government, which does not inhibit the free transaction of business to the benefit of all by the creation of goods and services to the benefit of all engaged in these activities.
          Yet an independant simply cannot say the issues of any religious ideology, sexual orientation, reproductive rights, racial identity are any of their business when it comes to governmental work that needs done. These are issues forced upon us by the people who want to divide us as a people and not pull us together to solve our problems. These things are simply the shouting voices in the crowd that overwhelm the considered solutions from being heard.
          The issue, to stay on topic, is the political corruption of the judicial system is simply not in the best interest of anyone. It is the last barrier to an outcome which we dare not allow. The Magna Carta took centuries to become the rule of the land, it will take centuries to undo the damage to our legal system if this assault continues. Funny thing about laws, once upheld, they are terribly hard to reverse. That is what these forces at work understand, if they can rule the court, they will rule the day. Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, Jefferson, and all the others who gave their entire beings to this country, must be ashamed.

  • http://twitter.com/lawnonymous §

    This is nothing more than an effort to pack the court with Republican appointments, on the flimsy pretense of popular discontent with a UNANIMOUS legal determination. A ruling that is unassailable on the merits. The radical right wing response, paradoxically, cements the validity of the ruling: that popular animus towards gays is alone in motivating the government’s persistent discrimination against them.

    • Anonymous

      I think it will be interesting to see how history treats these events. I hope I’m around in 30 or 40 years to see how the various courts’ and legislatures’ actions are described through the prism of time.

  • Anonymous

    Article I, sec 6 of the Iowa Constitution: “All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the general assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens.” That’s what the justices interpreted in Varnum, holding that this guarnatee of equal protection was denied to same sex couples.

    These Republicans say the court doesn’t have the power to do this? Funny, let’s go back to the constitution, Article V, sec 4 “The supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction only in cases in chancery, and shall constitute a court for the correction of errors at law, under such restrictions as the general assembly may, by law, prescribe; and shall have power to issue all writs and process necessary to secure justice to parties, and shall exercise a supervisory and administrative control over all inferior judicial tribunals throughout the state.”

    Because any law that conflicts with the State Constitution is void (Article XII, sec 1) it IS a correction of an error at law for the Court to rule that law unconstitutional, and thus void. Moreover, as seen above, the Constitution gives the Court the power to issue all writs necessary to effectuate its rulings (such as an injunction or writ of mandamus requiring county recorders to issue marriage licenses.)

  • Anonymous

    These Republicans’ version of “separation of powers” would create a wholly impotent court that fills nothing more than a purely advisory role, leaving the legislature and executive with the real power to interpret the constitution. In that view, if the General Assembly passed a law that violated your right to free speech, and the Governor enforced it, those branches could simply ignore the Court when it told them the law was unconstitutional. The Court does have the power to give its rulings legal effect, or it serves as no check whatsoever on the power of the other branches.

    Imagine, Republicans, a world where the Courts cannot give their rulings the force of law. The state wants to ban your guns? The court says it is unconstitutional, but too bad because the legislature can ignore their opinion. Force you to send your kids to public, rather than private or home school? Pierce v. Society of Sisters says that’s unconstitutional, but again, too bad because you want a world where the court has to beg the legislature to pretty please repeal an unconsitutional act that the legislature passed in the first place.

    Destroying the Court is a threat to the liberty of everyone who exercises their liberty in an unpopular way.

  • Anonymous

    It’s sad that ignorance and hate have ruled the day, when so many intelligent and compassionate people populate the state of Iowa. It seems nearly irrational to have to describe the idea that the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches were conceived to be checks on one-another… that so many otherwise intelligent and compassionate Iowans have acted with such fundamentally flawed logic can only be called irrational.

  • Anonymous

    It’s sad that ignorance and hate have ruled the day, when so many intelligent and compassionate people populate the state of Iowa. It seems nearly irrational to have to describe the idea that the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches were conceived to be checks on one-another… that so many otherwise intelligent and compassionate Iowans have acted with such fundamentally flawed logic can only be called irrational.

  • Anonymous

    It’s sad that ignorance and hate have ruled the day, when so many intelligent and compassionate people populate the state of Iowa. It seems irrational to need to describe the idea that the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches were conceived to be checks on one-another… that so many otherwise intelligent and compassionate Iowans have acted with such fundamentally flawed logic can only be called irrational.

  • Anonymous

    It’s sad that ignorance and hate have ruled the day, when so many intelligent and compassionate people populate the state of Iowa. It seems irrational to need to describe the idea that the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches were conceived to be checks on one-another… that so many otherwise intelligent and compassionate Iowans have acted with such fundamentally flawed logic can only be called irrational.

  • Anonymous

    With the judicial retention vote looming, the debate has shifted into two separate, but vitally important topics. First is the Varnum v. Brien (Same-sex marriage) opinion that highlighted the Iowa Supreme Court’s willful determination to legislate from the bench. The other question is: What to do about it.

    Actually, the lawless decision in Varnum can only be debated as to how far-reaching and limitless the current court could rule if unchecked. When the Iowa Supreme Court justices claim omnipotent power to imagine and confer constitutional rights that “were at one time unimagined” it is time to remove them on that basis alone. It is obvious they feel empowered and will follow their whim in future decisions rather than the law. They have usurped the constitutional authority of the legislature and will do so at every notion until they are stopped by a vote of the people. To read their opinion brings one to the conclusion that these justices believe they have the authority to find the Constitution – unconstitutional.

    On the matter of what the citizens of Iowa can do about their rogue judges, the retention vote is the only recourse. When judges usurp the letter of the Constitution and the Code of Iowa to suit their whim, they must be removed from office. The very fact that our Constitution calls for a retention vote on a general election ballot means the Constitutional intention is for the voters of Iowa to use their moral authority and judgment to check the runaway judicial branch.

    However, judges do not want to acknowledge that fact. They encourage rubber stamp acquiescence from the citizens they want to rule. Some days ago, Judge Robert B. Hanson, the creator of Iowa’s same-sex marriage status, revealed the political nature of our current judicial system when he called opponents of his ruling “misguided.” He continued to characterize a ‘no’ vote on judicial retention as “an abuse of the system.” The U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Iowa were both designed so that, if any branch of government gets out of hand, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.

    Elitism and judicial arrogance are on full display. They have for so long controlled their own hierarchy and culture that they openly consider our constitutionally granted right to vote our conscience and judgment as “an abuse of the system.”

    Heretofore, judges have wrapped themselves in the cloak of jurisprudence. The average Iowan believes that judges carefully and scholarly study the Constitution, the statutes and case law, then render a decision that is the objective result of jurisprudence. Some do. Justice Scalia told me that when he is unhappy with the effect of a decision he has made, he is confident that he has made the right legal decision. Not so with activist judges. They match their personal, political and policy preference with their conclusion, and then rationalize using creative and convoluted legal jujitsu to work backwards into their opinion. This is the stuff of Iowa’s judge made same-sex marriage policy.

    Iowa law says that marriage is only between “a male and a female.” No judge can be allowed to remain on the bench who would turn thousands of years of law and human history on its head by discovering rights that “were at one time unimagined” in our Constitution. If Iowans read the decision, Varnum v. Brien, as I have, they will realize that their only recourse is to vote “NO” on all three Iowa Supreme Court judges who are on the back side of the ballot. I will vote “NO” on all three judges because it’s my sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and because it’s time to put the control of all three branches of government back in the hands of the people.”

    – Congressman Steve King represents Iowa’s Fifth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives

    • Anonymous

      Over and over again, we hear these phrases. “Activist judges legislating from the bench” “overstepping their bounds” “taking the power away from people”. These are slogans. They have no weight. They are inaccurate. Saying them over and over again without any supporting facts does not change that they are basically lies. It’s kind of like saying ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction” over and over again. It still doesn’t justify attacking another nation, no matter how often it gets said, or how happy people are to have a scapegoat.

      I’m not really clear why ‘activist judge’ is even a slur; if a judge is convinced that something counters the constitution, for example, I want them to go against the popular opinion, even if it’s held by the rest of the nation. You know, like our activist judges did when they decided people couldn’t own people, that segregation was wrong, and that women had rights too. Oh, wait, that one got shot down (twice); apparently Pat Robertson decided it would make women kill their children, so we’ll just have to keep being second class citizens. I guess it just goes to show, if you say crazy stuff often enough, you can sway a lot of morons into believing it, even if it is just a big load of crap.

      Worth watching is Chief Justice Ternus’ discussion of how they addressed this case: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAltlzceTco
      As a contention that laws ‘safeguarding traditional marriage’ (because apparently without proper protection, gay marriage mugs straight marriage in back alleys, probably in order to have its sordid way) violate the equal rights clause. Not as an attempt to superimpose secular views on religion: religions are free to deny marriage to whomever they wish. But the state laws regarding marriage cannot.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry, but I have more faith in six judges who have completed college and law school over a State Representative who didn’t bother to finish his own undergraduate college degree, aka Steve King!

      “We are firmly convinced that the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective,” the court said in an opinion written by Justice Mark Cady. “The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification.”

      The ruling appeared to dismiss the option of civil unions as a marriage alternative, finding that “a new distinction based on sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution.”

      Friday’s decision also addressed what it called the “religious undercurrent propelling the same-sex marriage debate” and said judges must remain outside the fray.

      “Our constitution does not permit any branch of government to resolve these types of religious debates and entrusts to courts the task of ensuring that government avoids them,” Cady wrote.

      “This approach does not disrespect or denigrate the religious views of many Iowans who may strongly believe in marriage as a dual-gender union, but considers, as we must, only the constitutional rights of all people, as expressed by the promise of equal protection for all.”

      If you’re an Iowan, please stop embarrassing yourself and the people that reside in this state and EDUCATE yourself. Instead of quoting Steve King and actual READ the full opinion: Iowa Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/assets/pdf/D213209243.PDF

  • Regina1959

    The judges were upholding the law as written. The only time they could be impeached is for violating the laws of the State Constitution. What the GOP’s are trying to do, is absolutely wrong. The are trying to make this a dictatorship, where only GOP makes the decisions, even if it is contrary to the laws on the books. This is right-wing extremism and we should all fight against it, no matter what state we live in. First and foremost, gay people are human beings, sons and daughters of parents; brothers or sisters, cousins, etc. As a human being, they have a right to a life with dignity. As in the “Pledge of Allegiance” (one nation, under God, with liberty and JUSTICE for all.” So where is the JUSTICE here? Shame on these newly elected neo-cons.

    • Anonymous

      The specific type of dictatorship they want is a Theocracy. There is very little difference between the GOP and the Taliban since they both want to force their brand of religion on everyone.

  • Anonymous

    When a popular law, no matter how it became law (through legislative action or POPULAR VOTE) violates a state or the US Constitution, it must be ruled unconstitutional by the Judicial branch at the state or federal level.

  • http://twitter.com/raynevandunem raynevandunem

    I’m glad that we are already knowledgeable about the fact that these judges have done nothing illegal and overstepped no boundaries in their ruling or behavior. No matter if this goes to trial in the Iowa Senate, cooler heads will prevail in the end.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, please people. Lets set some priorities. The unemployment rate is 9.4%, one and six Americans do not have enough to eat, millions have lost their homes, the US is legally bankrupt and China, India and Russian have met secretly to declare the U.S. dollar NOT the reserve currency of the world which will drastically de-value the dollar and sharply reduce U.S. lving standards. And you are worried about same sex marriages. Hello, hello, is anybody awake out there or are you just a herd of sheep???

    • Anonymous

      I’m not sure what you are saying, but suffice it to say, the Iowa Supreme Court case that started these events was well before the economy went ‘south’. If anybody is misplacing priorities, I would suggest it is/was Vander Platts and his bunch who could have spent their million$ on a better cause than ejecting Justices who simply did their jobs. Besides, when is the state of the economy a factor in civil rights? I bet there were ‘other more important issues’ when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, too.

      • Anonymous

        Kendall-

        Please see my comments about 9/11. Hello, the American people are being intentionally diverted toward minor issues like same sex marriage while the criminal behavior of the government goes unexamined. Fact-9/11 was probably an inside job Fact-The Amercian people have been ripped off for trillions in overpriced military contracts in Iraq Fact-The bank bailout was more stealling from the American people, again in the trillion dollar range. Talk about fiddling while Roman is burning. Is anyone awake out there?

  • Anonymous

    We seem to have a lot of eloquent, sensible people here. Might I suggest we take our level heads to this font of truthiness?

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/iowa-gop-lawmakers-vow-impeach-4-justice

    They so very clearly need us.

    • Anonymous

      I am not so sure any forum can overcome the dire assault on Iowa. I am actually hoping for the first time in my life they take this first in the nation caucus role and give it away to any state but Iowa. Give it to some state in the south where a potential felon can be elected to be a senatorial candidate. Where politics are the joke they have become. The desire for power and the money behind it has started to overwhelm the Iowan desire to be levelheaded and just in what we determin at the polling office.
      I simply want my state back, my home, my children’s home, where we work hard, obey and respect the law, trust our neighbor. I don’t care if my concerns are heard anymore; the power to offer free, logical, honest debate seems a lost cause.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently, Iowa would choose to disregard the constitution. Either gay Americans are citizens or they are not. You can not have it both ways. Your actions, Iowa legislature, reveal a very disturbing trend of picking and choosing where you wish to honor the law of the land and return your state to a segregationist mindset that was soundly rejected decades ago.

    FULL CITIZENSHIP FOR GAY AMERICANS NOW!

    • Anonymous

      The Iowa Constitution grants full citizenship to gays. Or rather, doesn’t designate them as anything other than full citizens, a distinction that seems to have eluded the social ubercons. It’s not a special privilege to be recognized as having the same legal rights and protections as every one else. Barring a constitutional amendment to build in discrimination, gays must be treated equally, because the constitution does not designate them as in any way unequal.

      Based on the November results, I am led to condemn, not the laws or the constitution or, most certainly, the judiciary. Rather, I condemn the state’s educational system. Why?

      Because clearly 55% of the people who voted can’t read.

      • Anonymous

        Then Iowa can’t deny them rights, privileges and responsibilities allowed to others.

        • Anonymous

          Exactly!! That’s why it’s so frustrating to hear people claim that the judges overstepped their bounds, or legislated from the bench. They did nothing of the kind…they did exactly their job. They evaluated a law created by the legislature as to its constitutionality, and they found it could not stand scrutiny. Because our constitution does not designate homosexuality as a cause to discriminate. Since redoing the same law would be a deliberate violation of the constitution, the only way to ban gay marriage is to amend the constitution to incorporate a discrimination-against-gays clause.

          Now, my confidence is quite shaken by how easily Iowans were misled by some hateful rhetoric cased in a whole lot of cash; however, I feel fairly certain that the do not want their constitution rewritten to allow bigotry, after 160 years of standing strong against it.

  • CB

    Great comments. I think Iowans have more to worry about than political posturing.

  • Anonymous

    Have any of you people actually ever read the opinion made by these judges. I am from Iowa and I have no problem with gays having the same rights as every other person. I do have a problem with the way that this whole process came about. It is all summarized in the last paragraph of the opinion. These judges had the power – and duty – to strike down the constitutional ammendment that was set before them (defining marriage as being between only a man and a woman). However, these judges took it a step futher (overstepping their powers and skewing the balance of powers between the branches of government). This was not done by the ruling that declaired the amendment unconstitutional, but by declairing that the language of the existing Iowa Constitution be changed to read in support of gay marriage. This should scare anyone who believes in democracy as we know it – only a vote of the people can change the Constitution of the State of Iowa. If non-elected judges are allowed to do so, we are no longer living in a democracy. Although this power was not afforded these judges, the presiding legislature ignored it. Was the retention vote political? Your damn right it was. Was the original amendment political. Again, your damn right it was. If those in power continue to ignore their obligations to the people (particularily the legislature in this case as I believe the judges were an afterthought), our only recourse is our vote. And in case any of you haven’t heard, the people of Iowa also voted out a governor and quite a few state representatives and state senators over this whole issue. I truly believe that most Iowans are intelligent people who would not allow the rights of any human being to be ignored or taken away. I also believe that the results of these last elections didn’t have so much to do with the gay rights issue (although plenty of money was spent by in-state and out-of-state proponents on both sides) as it had to do with the irresponsiblity of those in power. Had the legislature acted, rather than posturing their political positions and ignoring their duties to the people of Iowa, I believe that the gay rights issue in Iowa would be a mute point.

    • Anonymous

      What are you talking about? I have read the decision, and it in no way suggests making changes to the Constitution. Let’s see you quote this alleged overstepping. And no sleazy BVP style out-of-context, either…

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