Five GOP lawmakers in the Iowa House have introduced four resolutions, each one to impeach one of the four remaining state Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2009.
In 2009, the seven Supreme Court judges were unanimous in their decision to reject a law banning same-sex marriage in the state, evoking the ire of social conservative groups like the American Family Association, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Family Research Council. In the lead-up to the 2010 elections, those groups waged a successful campaign to oust three of those judges, who went up for a retention vote at the end of their terms in November.
State Reps. Kim Pearson (R), Tom Shaw (R), Betty De Boef, (R), Dwayne Alons (R), and Glen Massie (R) introduced the resolutions in an attempt to remove the rest of the group, aruguing that the judges “knowingly and intentionally usurped the proper function delegated solely and exclusively to the legislative.”
But Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R) on Friday took some of the wind out of their sails, saying the resolutions won’t yet be debated because they must go through the House Judiciary Committee first, which is not scheduled to meet for the rest of this year’s legislative session. “While I agree with much of the reasoning behind the impeachment resolutions, I disagree with this remedy,” Paulsen said, “I do not expect it to be debated on the floor of the House, and if it is, I will vote no.”
The Supreme Court issued a statement in response, saying that “impeachment is not appropriate.”
“Deciding a question in a lawsuit about whether a law violates a provision of the constitution is a fundamental role of courts in our system of government,” the statement said. “Both state and federal courts have exercised this responsibility in countless cases, many of them controversial, for over 200 years.”