Sour Grapes of Wrath for Iowa Marriage Equality

marriage-equality-redshirts1Back in 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court voted unanimously in favor of marriage equality.  Since then, the justices involved in that decision have been under a constant barrage of stupid.  Unfortunately, Iowa is one of those states that elects judges to the bench.  With the backing of some out-of-state anti-gay groups, three of the judges were ousted in the re-election bids.  Not satisfied with that and clearly emboldened by their victories, these groups then tried to impeach the remaining four justices.  Now, if you think that Iowa conservatives were willing to stop wallowing in this cesspool of vindictive stupid, you’d be wrong.  They’ve come up with an even more innovative plan to attack the remaining judges.  Introducing House File 120.  It’s an amendment to a judicial budgeting bill.  We’ll pick up the story from the Iowa Gazette:

A handful of House conservatives want to reduce the pay of Iowa Supreme Court justices involved in a 2009 decision striking down a ban on same-sex marriages as part of an effort to maintain the balance of power in state government.

That’s right.  They couldn’t turf them all off of the bench.  They couldn’t impeach them under spurious reasoning.  But maybe, just maybe they can reduce their pay by about 85%.  Judges shouldn’t be worried about re-election campaigns in my-not-so humble opinion.  But that’s the way Iowa chooses to do business.  So if you don’t like a particular decision and you want to mobilize the voters, take to the airwaves, and make them “pay” for that decision, so be it.  But trying to impeach them for rendering their opinion on legal matters is silly.  The job description of a judge includes interpreting the Constitution and rendering a decision.  Now if that weren’t silly enough, we have this.  Trying to reduce the pay of judges you disagree with is somewhere north of asinine.  Here’s two members of this Confederacy of Dunces on the proposed bill:

“It’s our responsibility to maintain the balance of power” between the three co-equal branches of government, Rep. Tom Shaw, R-Laurens, said Tuesday.

The justices “trashed the separation of powers” with their unanimous Varnum v. Brien decision and implementation of same-sex marriage without a change in state law banning any marriages expect between one man and one woman, added Rep. Dwayne Alons, R-Hull.

Memo to members of government who have to take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution:  You may want to try reading it first.  Just saying the words “separation of powers” and “co-equal branches of government” clearly hasn’t illuminated what those terms actually mean, so let me help you out.  Maintaining the balance of power between the co-equal branches of government does not mean reducing the salary of the specific judges with whom you disagree.  That would not maintain the balance.  That would give the legislative branch much more power than the judicial branch.  That’s not maintaining anything.  It’s a legislative power grab.  That means it’s the legislature who “trashed the separation of powers,” not the justices.   Undeterred by their lack of understanding of their jobs, the Iowa Constitution, or even basic civics, they continued.

It’s not meant to be punitive, Alons and Shaw said Tuesday.

“We’re just holding them responsible for their decision, for going beyond their bounds,” Shaw said.

Of course.  Not punitive at all except for the part where justices you specifically disagree with have their salaries go from $163,000 (the salary for a full-time Supreme Court Justice position in Iowa) to $25,000 (the listed salary for a part-time state senator).  You know, I’m beginning to think that you guys have trouble with comprehending an entire bevy of concepts.  Was it opposite day when you spoke with the Iowa Gazette?   You seem to have taken terms like separation of powers and punitive and worked towards their antithetical ends.

House File 120, even assuming the amendment passes, will eventually be struck down.  Paying state employees different salaries based on their legal interpretations doesn’t pass the laugh test and seems to fly in the face of 14th amendment equal protection laws.  But the crazies are getting bolder and bolder every day.  I’m not sure what comes after this.  Maybe a law that raises the taxes of justices that voted for marriage equality? More small government in action.

This is the legislative equivalent of a child’s tantrum.  The tide of history is against these people.  That’s why the attacks are becoming more and more ridiculous.

Categories: Politics Fix

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