I was unable to attend Bob Vander Plaats’ press conference this morning, but heard about it from a friend this afternoon and then saw the press release in my inbox tonight. Confirming what I thought when I heard the event was to be held in front of the Iowa Judicial Building, he’s not launching an independent Gubernatorial campaign. Instead he’s launching an initiative to unseat the Iowa Supreme Court justices who legislated from the bench when they not only ruled that Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, they ordered county recorders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Vander Plaats this morning said:
I’m here today to say that I will not be seeking an independent run for governor because I am focused on the future of our state and maintaining our freedoms. For too long, we’ve allowed the courts to overstep their authority and there was no clearer example of that than the April 3, 2009 decision by the Iowa Supreme Court on same-sex marriage. The issues of separation of power and judicial activism are important to me and my followers and that’s why we’re going to work to restore the balance between the branches of our government.
He was also motivated by federal court ruling on Arizona’s immigration law and the federal judge ruling California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional, “If the courts will do that on this issue, what’s to say they won’t do it on your Second Amendment rights or eminent domain or any other issue?” He went on to discuss the problem of a runaway judiciary.
It is the legislative branch that is the voice and representation of the people that make law, not the courts. Members of the General Assembly made themselves clear in 1998 with the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act upholding that marriage in Iowa is between one man and one woman. The Iowa Supreme Court opinion on April 3, 2009 claiming to strike down the law was just that – an opinion.
He’s right when they declared DOMA to be unconstitutional what should have happened is to go back to what the law was prior to DOMA – which was marriage being defined as one man and one woman. The Iowa Supreme Court overstepped and they need to be held accountable. Voting no on the retention of the three Iowa Supreme Court justices who are on the ballot this year (Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, Justice Michael Streit, and Justice David Baker) is one step to hold our runaway judiciary in check. As Newt Gingrich mentioned last month it would send a clarion call to the remaining judges. We will not tolerate this, whether it is the definition of marriage or any other matter. You do not make law, that is not your job! We need to make sure they learn this lesson. If you would like to write law then we will help “free” you to run for elected office.
He said that more details about this grassroots effort will be forthcoming, but I for one applaud his decision. Former Governor Terry Branstad said of Vander Plaats’ decision, “This is an issue on which Bob has often spoke with great passion and I understand his desire to pursue this path. I respect his decision.”
Vander Plaats did reveal some of what we can expect with this initiative, “I can tell you this, though, we will run a very focused, grassroots campaign and the results are going to send a signal across this country that we’re not going to let appointed judges usurp the will of the people any longer.”
I look forward to supporting this effort.
Update: I saw video over at The Iowa Republican and thought I would post it here as well.