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April 21st, 2011

Impeachment Resolutions Filed Against Justices, Doomed to Fail

By Kevin Hall

Freshman Republican legislators Glen Massie, Kim Pearson and Tom Shaw finally made good on their promise to try to impeach four Iowa Supreme Court justices.  They were joined by state representatives Dwayne Alons and Betty De Boef in filing the impeachment resolutions on Thursday.  Massie, Pearson and Shaw began heavily publicizing their impeachment efforts four months ago.  They waited until the final weeks of the legislative session before moving forward with them.

The Republican legislators want the justices removed for their actions in the Varnum v. Brien decision, which opened the door for same sex marriage in Iowa.  The Iowa Constitution says a justice can be removed for a misdemeanor or malfeasance in office.  The four resolutions, filed separately for each judge, call for them to be “impeached for malfeasance in office”.

The Iowa Supreme Court voted unanimously in favor of same sex marriage in the Varnum decision. Three of those justices were removed in a retention vote last November.  “Clearly, by changing the simple meaning of the word ‘marriage’, and attempting to legislate, the remaining four judges committed malfeasance in office by greatly exceeding the scope of their lawful authority,” Representative Shaw said in a statement.  “Therefore, if the moral integrity of each individual member of the Iowa Legislature, and the institution as a whole, are to be preserved, these judges must be impeached and removed permanently from the bench.”

However, the chances of the impeachment succeeding are virtually nil.  Representative Rich Anderson, a Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, says the resolutions are unlikely to advance out of that committee.  If they do somehow move forward, a majority vote is required in the Iowa House, where Republicans hold a 60-40 advantage.  The Iowa Senate would then act as jurors in the impeachment process.  For the justices to be removed, 2/3 of the senators would have to vote in favor of impeachment.  Democrats hold a slim majority in the senate and it is highly unlikely any of them would vote in favor it.

Click Here to read the full text of one of the impeachment resolutions.

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About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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