Justice at Stake applauded today the apparent death of an effort to impeach four Iowa Supreme Court justices.
“Impeachments of judges are not a tool for resolving political disagreements. If angry fans could fire the umpire, they’d never get past the third inning,” Executive Director Bert Brandenburg said in a press release.
“Iowa’s renegade legislators need to check their civics textbooks,” Brandenburg added. “Impartial courts are what make this country a model for democracy and business around the world.”
On Thursday, several House Republicans introduced legislation to impeach four justices who had participated in a unanimous 2009 ruling that permitted same-sex marriages in Iowa. On Friday, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen said he did not support the impeachment resolutions (see Gavel Grab), effectively signaling their demise.
In January, Brandenburg wrote an op-ed published by The Washington Post entitled “End this war on judges.” He decried the looming impeachment threat in Iowa, laid out the historical record to expose the almost unprecedented nature of such an impeachment threat, and concluded that Iowa voters still understood the right way for lawmakers to resolve a policy disagreement was “through proper channels, not by settling political scores.”
The latest developments from Iowa got widespread attention. These were among the reports: “Effort to Oust Four Iowa Supreme Court Justices Runs Aground,” Wall Street Journal; “Iowa Republican says effort to impeach justices won’t fly,” Reuters; “GOP House Speaker Kills Call for Justices’ Impeachment,” KCCI 8; and “Iowa’s House Speaker: No Judicial Impeachments,” Associated Press/WOWT.
Also on Friday, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said a judge in Polk County had thrown out a lawsuit that challenged the retention ballots used when voters dumped three other Supreme Court justices last year, the Associated Press reported. To learn more about the litigation, see Gavel Grab.
The justices were targets of an ouster drive that responded to the controversial marriage ruling. Of the seven-member high court, only those three justices had terms expiring and appeared on the November ballot.