Iowa Republicans have introduced a bill to reduce the salaries of its State Supreme Court Justices by eighty percent (or 80% if you like numerals and symbols). But not all of the Iowa Supreme Court Justices – just the four who voted that a law depriving same sex couples of the right to marry was unconstitutional get their pay docked.
On Monday, five state House Republicans attempted to amend Senate File 442 with H-1327, which declares that “[a]ny justice appointed to the supreme court prior to April 3, 2009, and who remains a justice of the supreme court on or after the date the electorate ratifies a constitutional amendment declaring marriage between one man and one woman is the only valid or recognized legal union in this state shall have the salary of the justice reduced in accordance with this section unless the justice resigns immediately.”
Admittedly, this appears to be a suck-up response to the GOP base. The excise for this bill offered by its proponents is that the justices in their decision ” “trashed the separation of powers” between the legislature and the judiciary because these justices voted for teh gays. Seriously.
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. […]
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.
Let me say, this argument is pure stupidity. Courts have been interpreting state laws and constitutions for over 200 years. That is their specific power under state and federal constitutions – to interpret the law. To claim that doing what they have the authority to do violates the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches of government is prima facie absurd. Nonetheless, I’m sure the logical fallacy of claiming that the Judicial branch oversteps its bounds only when it overturns a law because it conflicts with the state’s constitution probably will be lost on social conservatives and other homophobic supporters of the Iowa Republican Party. To them, equal rights is only important if they get to decide who gets treated equally, and who can be kicked to the curb as less than human.
I doubt this bill will pass, and if it should, I doubt it will survive judicial review (see, prohibition against ex post facto laws). So the only purpose it serves is to rile up the core constituency of the Republican Party without having to actually do anything to eliminate marriage equality, such as an passing an amendment to the state constitution banning same sex marriage (which would be subject to review by the federal court, by the way). However, it will make the “Hate the Gay” crowd feel a little better and more likely to rally round their GOP banner, which is all it is intended to do, in my opinion.