By Kim Pearson
On January 10, 2011, I will swear an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Iowa. This means, in part, that I must be diligent to ensure that the various branches of State and Federal government function within their constitutional authority. That is an essential part of my job description.
If the Iowa Supreme Court had constrained itself to only “interpreting” the legislature’s intent and applying the law in the Varnum same-sex marriage case, Iowa would not be facing the constitutional crisis it is now in~nor would it need to vote out three justices or even consider impeachment of the remaining justices. The Court invaded the exclusive province of the legislature when it created new public policy. Even if the Court had simply sent a “warning” to the legislature, that would have been far more respectful of our separation of powers than what the Court did – take over the job of writing the laws and redefining marriage.
Because the Iowa Supreme Court strayed far and wide from its limited purpose, the constitutional structure of Iowa is imbalanced and the people of Iowa are demanding a remedy. The Constitution gives the legislature the power and the responsibility to call into the question any acts of over-reaching by the judicial branch. These impeachment powers are the proper vehicle to permit a serious examination of the respective roles and responsibilities of both the legislature and the judicial branches. The impeachment process willI demonstrate to the people of Iowa the constitutional authority to determine public policy ultimately rests with the people, and it will force the legislature and the courts to acknowledge the lawful limits of their respective domains.
This is hardly a waste of time. It may be the most healthy re-alignment of Iowa’s branches of government that has ever happened which will ensure that no one branch of government is supreme over any other and that the people of Iowa have a handful of legislators who still value our constitutional republic, who still follow the rule of law, and who are not afraid to ask difficult questions and demand satisfactory answers.
Upholding the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Iowa is time well spent.
Kim Pearson is the State Representative-Elect for Iowa House District 42.