The FAMiLY Leader President and CEO, Bob Vander Plaats, announced at The FAMiLY Leader Leadership Summit this afternoon that he is relaunching the Iowans for Freedom Initiative which was successful in unseating three Iowa Supreme Court justices in 2010 to campaign against Justice David Wiggins retention.  Justice Wiggins is the 4th of 7 Supreme Court justices who ruled against the Iowa Defense of Marriage act and ruled that same-sex marriage must be allowed in Iowa.  Vander Plaats will serve as the State Chair.  He announced that Iowa National Committeewoman-elect Tamara Scott will be the State Co-Chair, former Steve King campaign manager, Chuck Laudner will serve as special advisor, and Greg Baker will serve as the executive director.

“Two years ago, Iowans agreed with the common-sense rationale and education presented to them that these seven judges went far beyond their constitutional bounds,” Vander Plaats said.  “This is an accountability  mechanism, given to ‘We the People,’ for the purpose of keeping activist and/or incompetent judges accountable.  We see this as a freedom and constitutional issue important to all Iowans.  If the courts are allowed to redefine the institution of marriage, every one of the liberties we hold dear is in jeopardy.”

Tamara Scott added, “We believe, as in 2010, that constitutionally-minded Democrats and Independents will unite with this initiative to preserve our freedom and the Founders’ intent for the separation of powers.”

Brian Brown of the National Organization of Marriage was also present for the summit as one of the co-sponsors, and he committed his organization to $100,000 of matching funds to help fund the campaign.  Vander Plaats during the press avail said that currently the judges are on a speaking tour and making their case with taxpayer money, but felt confident that they had enough time to run this campaign.  He did caution that it will be harder to repeat the success of their 2010 initiative.

Baker noted, “We will run a very focused and grassroots advocacy movement destined to produce similar or better results than the 2010 effort.  The website for Iowa for Freedom is  Brown also referred the audience to the website

Update: Below is the video of the press avail.

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  1. It would be amazing if all these self proclaimed Christian leaders would actually put some effort into being Christian instead of focussing on trying to ruin other people’s lives. Why don’t they put their considerable efforts and moneys behind helping the needy, feeding the hungry, tending to the sick, clothing the poor and ministering the those that Jesus asked of them? Instead their focus their venom on spreading lies and ousting judges who were just doing their jobs. Jesus must weep that people like this are revered as Christian leaders when they do none of the things his example showed.

  2. I’m truly puzzled as to why modern “conservatives” are so enamored with judicial retention elections. They are a form of direct democracy, antithetical to the US Founders’ original intent for the judiciary branch.  Read the Federalist #78 for full detail: it lays out the best argument for why making the judicial branch subject to the whims of popular opinion is a horrible idea.  It is strange to see people who say they believe in “republican” governance and constitutional originalism espousing any form of judical election.

    Few conservatives realize that the move to judicial elections/campaigns was a radical Jacksonian (Democratic!) innovation, later expanded into its modern forms with support of progressive movements around 1900. 

    Support judicial retention elections (or not), whatever, but don’t call it a conservative idea when its origins are in radical democratic movements.

    1. Well it is a (Iowa) constitutional process, and one that we rarely exercise. I’d prefer to get rid of the Missouri Plan for appointing judges and go to the federal process. There’s too much behind-the-scenes politics involved and far too much control by the Iowa Bar Association. I laugh when people say the retention vote politicizes the judiciary – it’s already politicized!

      1. Agreed. A belief in small-r republicanism dictates that issues like judicial nomination reform (and, eventually,  confirmation debates) rightly belong in the legislature.  

        But I think social conservatives are contradictory and short-sighted on issues like gay marriage. (You and I likely disagree on this, Shane, but I hope you ponder  the ideas below, and see them as valid viewpoints by those who hope to call conservatism back to its roots.)

        (1) So-cons tout the virtues of governing tools (direct dem) that contradict self-professed republican ideals.

        (2) They laud the judicial election process in this case to advance their goals, unaware (or maybe hypocritical, i.e. “the ends justify the means) that direct democracy is the prime culprit in undermining their values in many other areas like gambling, drug legalization, etc. 

        (3) By way of the un-conservative idea that marriage is properly defined by the government, not by the church (holy marriage) or private contracts (civil unions), they build a foundation on shifting sand. Trends show gay marriage wins this argument long term, due to shifts in generational and individual opinion — the trend in recent Pew polls is quickening. Because so-cons legitimize giving government the power to define marriage, they have no recourse when opinion moves the other way.

      2. Kedron, consider: We have inherited a system in which gov’t regulates marriage via licensing,recording at the courthouse, divorce law, etc. Why? Perhaps for a well-ordered society. Do you really want to abandon that practice for “The Church of Restoring Polygamy” to instead forming to re-establish their definition of marriage in our society?

      3. Arguing from tradition does not solve the issue: just because a system is inherited does not make it preferable.

        On the “well-ordered” idea, contract law is perfectly capable of enforcing legal arrangements in areas such as hospital visitation, end-of-life decisions, property and insurance. Using private contracts gets politicians out of the business of manipulating incentives/penalties to try to coerce behavior.

        It is not a perfect solution, but I think preferable to the current one.  If Iowa removed its official recognition from marriage tomorrow, would any of us feel “less married”? I don’t think so.

      4. Kedron, what do lawmakers do besides “coercing behavior”? I thought that’s why we elected them. Laws mandate this, forbid that, and penalize or punish their violation–all for the perceived benefit of society. Deregulating marriage would need a lot more examination than I believe you’ve given it.

      5. You misunderstand the idea of negative liberty (freedom). It’s not govt’s role to mandate whims / opinions of a majority (not even so-cons!), but to promote maximum individual liberty. Govt steps in only when a market failure exists, for security/defense, and for rule of law. You take a very expansive view of govt, my friend!

      6. So, does “maximum individual liberty” entail permitting polygamy? I like our Constitution’s preamble’s statetment of “govt’s role” better, Kedron.

      7. To BELOW: not sure why you point to a US constitution that has zero enumerated powers to regulate civil marriage; it’s a state issue.

        (2) Most legal scholars expect DOMA to be overruled any day now.(3) A preamble also does not enumerate any powers, so isn’t legally binding.

        (4) Polygamy is illegal now, but still exists because it is a matter of indiv (warped it may be) conscience

      8. That’s an odd reading of Fed #51, my friend.  Madison’s aim in the quoted section was internal checks on any one power structure (given human nature’s ambition/self-interest).  

        You warp an argument for separate, competing factions into a claim for big government. Go back & read the context of the whole Paper!

Comments are closed.

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