Iowa Governor-Elect Terry Branstad said yesterday during a AP media forum that he would consider nominee’s judicial philosophy in light of retention vote where three justices were ousted from the Iowa Supreme Court.  Radio Iowa quotes Branstad saying:

In light of the same sex marriage decision and the public vote to reject three members of the supreme court, it would be appropriate for the governor to specifically want to know issues about that philosophy.

The Des Moines Register reports saying he is looking for judicial restraint and he is concerned about the nominating commission’s impartiality:

Branstad said he is concerned about the commission’s impartiality.

“Despite that, I’m hopeful that they will recognize and respect the will of the people in this state, that the voters overwhelmingly rejected three members of the Supreme Court, and I think they want a change in the philosophy of the court,” he said.

Branstad said Iowans want justices with “more judicial restraint” who won’t overstep their bounds in the future. “The Supreme Court, I think, made a tragic mistake in their decision on same-sex marriage,” he said…

…Branstad said he will not grill justice candidates specifically about their feelings about the ruling, but he will ask about their “philosophy with regard to the separation of powers” between the judicial, legislative and executive branches.

“I want to hear that people respect the genius of our founding fathers in this state and this country when they devised a system with clear separation of powers, and recognize that the powers of the judiciary are restricted,” he said.

“They need to respect that on issues like this, it’s really the Legislature that has the responsibility, and if the Legislature has made a mistake, the courts can indeed send it back to Legislature to be corrected.”…

Another way to restore public support for the judicial system is for the Legislature to allow a vote of the people on amending the constitution to restore one-man, one-woman marriage, Branstad said. Changing the constitution requires approval in consecutive two-year general assemblies and then a simple majority approval by the voters.

The Republican-dominated House is expected to approve such a vote, but Gronstal has promised to block it.

Branstad said: “Just because you’re a leader in the Legislature doesn’t mean you’re a dictator or you have the right to make unilateral decisions. And I think on an issue of this importance and magnitude … certainly the senators should be given an opportunity to vote on it.”

It is incredibly encouraging to hear Governor-Elect Branstad address the judiciary in this manner, and I applaud him.  Some thought that Bob Vander Plaats, Branstad’s former opponent in the Republican primary and now CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER, would have a chill run up his spine when Branstad said he wouldn’t ask candidate’s opinion of the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA.  Not quite.

In a press conference today, where I thought perhaps I would see pigs fly, Vander Plaats who had crossed swords with Branstad on this issue complimented and affirmed his statements at the Iowa Statehouse.  Vander Plaats affirmed his statements regarding the “genius of the Constitution,” his desire to bring transparency and change to the current system, his position on letting people vote, and view of the separation of powers.  You can watch today’s press conference below:

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