Iowa House Speaker dooms impeachment of four Supreme Court justices
Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen today quashed an effort by Republican House members to impeach four justices of the Iowa Supreme Court.
“While I agree with much of the reasoning behind the impeachment resolutions, I disagree with this remedy,” Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said in a statement. “I do not expect it to be debated on the floor of the House, and if it is, I will vote no.”
He added, “House Republicans remain focused on reducing government spending and lowering taxes for Iowa families and small businesses.”
Paulsen, a lawyer, said the resolutions won’t be debated because they have been sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which is not scheduled to meet the rest of the 2011 legislative session.
Five Republican lawmakers had filed resolutions in the House on Thursday with the intent of impeaching four Iowa Supreme Court justices who had issued an April 2009 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
The four resolutions – one for each justice – argue that Chief Justice Mark Cady and Justices David Wiggins, Daryl Hecht and Brent Appel performed a function solely reserved for the Legislature in making the decision.
The resolutions represented an effort to remove the remaining justices who took part in the case. Opponents of the ruling spearheaded a successful campaign to oust three justices in a November retention vote.
The resolutions claim the court’s decision in the Varnum vs. Brien case violated the state’s constitutional separation of powers and created social disorder and unrest.
The lawmakers who filed the resolutions were Reps. Kim Pearson of Pleasant Hill, Tom Shaw of Laurens, Betty De Boef of What Cheer, Dwayne Alons of Hull and Glen Massie of Des Moines.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines, the Democratic leader in the House, had issued a statement Thursday night challenging Paulsen and Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer to condemn the impeachment effort.