DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Three newly-elected Iowa state representatives are drafting legislation that they hope will lead to impeaching four state Supreme Court justices who struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Iowa made national headlines last month when three other justices who joined in the unanimous opinion were voted off the court in mid-term elections. Under Iowa law, incumbent judges are periodically subjected to a vote to stay on the bench but they are seldom ousted.
Republicans Tom Shaw of Laurens, Glen Massie of Des Moines and Kim Pearson of Pleasant Hill are drafting articles of impeachment to try to remove the other four Supreme Court justices.
Shaw said in an interview on Friday that they are considering impeachment because they heard during the election campaign from voters angry about the court decision.
Under the Iowa Constitution, a justice can be impeached for any misdemeanor or malfeasance in office. Impeaching a justice requires a vote in the House, a trial in the Senate and then two-thirds of the state’s senators would have to vote to impeach the justice.
State Senate Democratic leader Mike Gronstal said if Republicans have discovered evidence that any justices have committed impeachable acts, “bring the evidence forth.” In the meantime, Gronstal said he and “every other Senate Democrat will stay focused on creating jobs and improving Iowa’s economy.”
Ben Stone, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, called the Republicans’ push for impeachment “truly shocking.”
Writing by Kay Henderson, editing by Mary Wisniewski