Former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Bill Salier, continued his criticism of Congressman Steve King last week while on Steve Deace’s program on WHO radio. Salier’s most recent criticism stems from an op-ed the congressman penned in the Des Moines Register, which called for a constitutional amendment defining marriage. This isn’t the first time Salier has been critical of King. Salier took to the airwaves during the legislative session to voice his objection to a residency requirement for marriage licenses, which King had advocated for.
Salier and others objected to the idea because passing such legislation would, in essence, acknowledge that the Court could indeed make law. At that time, the only action Salier was advocating for was a marriage amendment. Some conservatives now find it odd that Salier would speak out against King for wanting people to focus and unite around passing an amendment.
Last week, Salier took issue with the part of Congressman King’s op-ed that read as follows.
“Some have called for the county recorders to refuse to abide by the decision. Others have called for the governor to issue an executive order in an attempt to overrule the court. Some called upon the Legislature to pass a new statute. Others argue that the Defense of Marriage Act is still on the books and should prevail over the Supreme Court’s decision. All of these arguments have the same flaw: They contain no end game, no solution, and no resolution, while denying judicial review itself. Like a dog chasing its tail, all of these proposals end up before the same court again, producing likely the same result we have today.”
Salier went so far as to suggest that Congressman King is either uninformed about how to stand up to the court, or he is simply reading the political tea leaves and making a political calculation. Salier then said if it is the later, “then somebody should primary King.”
It’s highly doubtful that King is either uninformed or playing politics with the marriage issue. King is the only person who has ever successfully sued two sitting governors (Vilsack and Culver), and he is the only non-attorney on the Judiciary Committee in the United State House of Representatives.
It appears as if Salier is upset with King for wanting to take a practical approach. Passing a marriage amendment to the Iowa Constitution is standing up to the court. While that process is long and tedious, that doesn’t mean you forgo that route.
Congressman King seems to acknowledge the reality that conservatives face. Governor Culver and the leaders in the House and Senate have endorsed the Court’s decision, and they refuse to do anything that would challenge the court. So, until Culver and the Democrat majorities in both legislative chambers are voted out, nothing will change.
People like Bill Salier and others believe that, by simply telling people that the courts can’t make laws, the people will stand up and rectify the situation. But what does that mean? Does that mean electing a Republican governor who would then sign an executive order that challenges the Court on the issue? Or should people focus on passing a constitutional amendment?
There is no guarantee that an executive order by newly elected Governor would be effective, especially if Mike Gronstal or Pat Murphy are still leading their respective chambers. Conservatives would be wise to focus on passing an amendment, whether through the legislative process or by calling for a constitutional convention, which is on the ballot in 2010.
The latest critique by Bill Salier of Congressman King does little to encourage people to stand up to the court or to fight for traditional marriage in Iowa. We should fight for traditional marriage, we should stand up to the Court, and we can accomplish those goals by fighting for a constitutional amendment, which is what Congressman King advocated for in his op-ed
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