Lawmaker Renews Call for Impeachment of Iowa Supreme Court Justices

By James Q. Lynch, Reporter

DES MOINES, Iowa - After an evening of largely non-controversial action in the Iowa House, a conservative lawmaker sought approval of resolutions calling for the impeachment of four Iowa Supreme Court justices who were part of a unanimous decision striking down the ban on same-sex marriage.

"I do not relish confrontation," Rep. Dwayne Alons, R-Hull, said in a point of personal privilege, but said he could not "in good conscience stand by while injustice prevails."

He called for action on House Resolutions 47 through 50 that would begin the impeachment of Chief Justice Mark Cady and Justices Brent Appel, Daryl Hecht and David Wiggins.

"It would be better if these justices would resign out of respect for their three colleagues who failed retention last November and the voters who spoke in a clear majority on that day," said Alons, a co-sponsor of the resolutions.

After the unanimous April 2009 Varnum v. Brien decision legalizing same-sex marriage, Iowans voted not to retain former Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices Michael Streit and David Baker.

Since then, the House approved and sent to the Senate a resolution calling for a referendum to amend the Iowa Constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. However, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, has promised to block any action on the issue.

Likewise, there has been no action on Alons' resolutions calling for impeachment and it does not appear imminent.

"We'll have to ponder that," House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, R Garner, said about his request.

In addition to calling out Gronstal for blocking action on the constitutional amendment, Alons said Republican Gov. Terry Branstad "remains silent as we look to the next election to possibly change the make-up of the Legislature and then further address the issue of marriage."

As he spoke, many of Alons' colleagues left the House chamber. Slightly more than half of the 100 representatives remained when he concluded.

"It appears the social issues are off the table." Alons said. The resolutions could be "the first step with dealing with this issue, I believe, and it will not be the last."
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