Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 1:17PM
The possibility of a push within the legislature next year to try to impeach the four remaining justices who were not up for retention on the 2010 ballot surfaced last week when several GOP lawmakers indicated they were spearheading an effort.
The Iowa Constitution has the following to say about state offices who are subject to impeachment:
The Governor, Judges of the Supremeand District Courts, and other state officers, shall be liable to impeachment for any misdemeanor or malfeasance in office; but judgment in such cases shall extend only to removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office ofhonor, trust, or profit, under this state; but the party convicted or acquitted shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, and punishment, according to law. All other civil officers shall be tried for misdemeanors and malfeasance inoffice, in such manner as the General Assembly may provide.
Now, I know I'm not a lawyer, but last time I checked, issuing a ruling in a case, however unpopular it may be, is not tantamount to committing "misdemeanor or malfeasance". Try to imagine with me the sheer outrage that would come from the right if a liberal were trying to have a SC judge impeached because he ruled Iowa's gun control laws to be unconstitutional, or that it was illegal for anyone to pray in public.
The movement to remove Justices Ternus, Streit and Baker was predicated on fear and half-truth, but more importantly, Vandetr Plaats' claim that the people of Iowa have lost "complete confidence in them" is utter hyperbole. The vote to remove the three judges up for retention was not a landslide. It wasn't exactly 50/50, but it wasn't 90/10 either. His equating of a close decision in a midterm election (even one that saw 50+% turnout in Iowa) to a vote of no confidence is simply irresponsible.
As one Iowan who voted to retain all three of these justices I can certainly say that Mr. Vander Plaats does not speak for me and as an Iowan, I am ashamed that so many of my fellow citizens allowed themselves to be swayed by the tactics of fear employed by Vander Plaats and his ilk.