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Second poll finds majority of Iowans oppose judicial impeachment
Only 36 percent of Iowans favor impeaching the remaining four Iowa Supreme Court justices over a 2009 decision that permitted same-sex marriage, according to new poll released Tuesday by the group Justice Not Politics. The findings match a similar poll released last week.
Moreover, after hearing the Iowa Constitution’s standard for impeachment — “misdemeanor or malfeasance” — only 17 percent said a court decision can be an impeachable offense. By contrast, 63 percent of Iowans said a court decision does not meet the standard for impeachment, even if they personally disagree with it.
“Iowa voters reject the reckless calls by Bob Vander Plaats and his allies in the legislature for impeachment, and the entire misguided reasoning behind it,” said Sally Pederson, co-chair of Justice Not Politics, a group organized last year to protect Iowa’s courts and system of merit selection and retention. “Voters understand the importance of an impartial court which upholds the constitution, and say no to impeachment before it does further damage to our state, and to our courts.”
In November, Iowans voted to oust three Supreme Court justices over the 2009 ruling. Since then, a group of Republican lawmaker have promised to introduce articles of impeachment for the remaining four justices. But even among those who voted “no” in the November retention election, 39 percent said a court decision does not meet the state’s standard for impeachment, while only 30 percent said it does. Of those who voted to retain the justices, 92 percent said a court decision is not an impeachable offense.
The Justice Not Politics poll, commissioned along with the national group Justice at Stake, questioned 748 voters by automated telephone, with an estimated margin of error of 3.6 percent, according to 20/20 Insight, an Atlanta polling firm.