Wanted: Republicans who understand judicial review

Is there any way to arrange a remedial civics class for prominent Iowa Republicans? Here’s Bob Vander Plaats on Monday:

“If I have the opportunity to serve as your next governor,” Bob Vander Plaats told a crowd of about 350 people at a rally, “and if no leadership has been taken to that point, on my first day of office I will issue an executive order that puts a stay on same-sex marriages until the people of Iowa vote, and when we vote we can affirm and amend the Constitution.”

Another highlight from the same rally:

Co-founder of Everyday America, Bill Salier, told the crowd that state lawmakers need to thank the Supreme Court justices for their opinion but say it’s merely opinion and the law is still on the books.

Salier said: “(Lawmakers) can face down the court and say, ‘We passed DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. You claim that it is stricken. And yet unless some magic eraser came down from the sky, it’s still in code.’”

Then there’s Republican State Representative Chris Rants, who is trying to amend the tax reform bill so that marriage would be defined as between a man and a woman. Rants failed last week to replace a huge health care bill with an amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, Republican State Senator Merlin Bartz is pushing an amendment that would allow county recorders not to issue marriage licenses.

This daughter of a Rockefeller Republican is shaking her head and has a few more things to say after the jump.

Are there any Republicans left who understand the following?

1. The Constitution protects citizens’ rights and freedoms.

2. The legislature makes laws, but those laws cannot infringe on rights protected by the Constitution.

3. The governor can issue executive orders, but those orders cannot infringe on rights protected by the Constitution.

4. When people disagree over whether a law or executive order violates the Constitution, the dispute is settled in courts.

If marriage equality is such an emotional issue that it short-circuits the conservative brain, let’s put it in the context of a law many Republicans dislike: Iowa’s smoking ban.

Some bar and restaurant owners believe the law adopted last year went too far in restricting their property rights, and they have challenged it in the courts. The smoking ban remains in effect pending the court challenge, just as the six couples who were plaintiffs in Varnum v Brien were unable to be married while their lawsuit was working its way through the judicial system.

I don’t give the smoking ban opponents much chance of winning their lawsuit, but if the courts rule this law unconstitutional, then the law will be invalid and unenforceable. The will of the people, as expressed through the legislature, cannot supersede the constitution.

Drake University Law Professor Mark Kende points out that neither what Vander Plaats and Salier are advocating nor the latest amendment Rants is proposing pass constitutional muster.

Will any senior Republicans dare to state the obvious: that amending Iowa’s Constitution is the only way to get around the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling in Varnum v Brien?

Are Republicans like Vander Plaats and Salier ignorant about how our system works, or are they just pandering to the conservative base?

Share your thoughts in this thread.

  • My Thoughts???

    Well, I remember a woman I knew coming from a Republican statehouse race rally and telling me that what I didn’t understand about abortion was this…

    She told me that there are young women, who only get pregnant so they can get an abortion, and then get tattoos to show how many babies they have sacrificed for Satan.

    So tell me, dear daughter of a Rockefeller Republican, if we can’t keep these nutjobs out of your womb, what chance do we have of keeping them out of people’s bedrooms?

  • My Thoughts???

    Well, I remember a woman I knew coming from a Republican statehouse race rally and telling me that what I didn’t understand about abortion was this…

    She told me that there are young women, who only get pregnant so they can get an abortion, and then get tattoos to show how many babies they have sacrificed for Satan.

    So tell me, dear daughter of a Rockefeller Republican, if we can’t keep these nutjobs out of your womb, what chance do we have of keeping them out of people’s bedrooms?

  • I don't know, but...

    from what I heard when passing by the tea party that took place in front of the statehouse on Saturday afternoon, phrases like "take back our country," "return to founding principles," and ""great Americans" are perfectly suitable replacements for law and logic in the minds of many of our state’s most vocal conservatives.  Different issue, I know, but I think many of the same folks probably showed up for the anti-marriage rights protest held there yesterday.  Honestly, even after listening to them list their nine founding principles, I have no idea what the group who sponsored the protest stands for.

    (Had family in town and were taking in the Historical Building and the capitol building…I felt a bit like an industrial spy!)

  • These Republicans have seen Bush and Cheney disregard laws, so why can't they?

  • Thoughts

    Democrats need to repeatedly remind Republicans like Rants that this country was founded on the priciples of the "rule of law" and a "free and independent judiciary". The question for them is whether they still believe in our founding priciples. If not, they are advocating revolution. That is treasonous.

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