At least two Iowa Republicans understand judicial review

On Tuesday I complained that I hadn’t heard any Republicans stand up and defend the Supreme Court’s authority to strike down unconstitutional laws.

Today I need to give credit to former Governor Terry Branstad and his chief of staff, Doug Gross, because they went on record supporting the concepts of separation of powers and judicial review, even though they sometimes disagree with the Iowa Supreme Court’s decisions.

The details are after the jump.

Des Moines Register columnist Marc Hansen contacted Branstad and Gross for his column published on Thursday:

During his four terms as governor, he appointed two members of the Same-Sex Seven – Marsha Ternus and Mark Cady.

Ternus is chief justice, and Cady wrote the opinion on same-sex marriage. Which had me wondering whether Branstad, as a lifelong Republican, was wishing he could take back the appointments.

“I’m not one who believes in second-guessing,” he said. “I do respect the existence of the separation of powers. That’s the reason it’s not appropriate for me to comment. But that doesn’t mean I’m always going to agree with their decisions.”

In case you wondered whether Branstad was serious when he told the Register he’s not running for governor again, his remarks to Hansen should remove all doubts. He’s not bashing the Supreme Court decision in Varnum v Brien, he respects the separation of powers, and he doesn’t even regret appointing Ternus and Cady. No one planning to face GOP primary voters would say such things.

To give you an idea how far to the right the Republican Party of Iowa has moved, Branstad was the right-winger when he beat two moderates in the 1982 gubernatorial primary.

Hansen also contacted Doug Gross for comment:

Though Gross disagrees with the Same-Sex Seven, he refuses to take it personally: “The Supreme Court has the final determination in reviewing statutes. Once it’s done, it’s final. We need to respect that process.” […]

“Bob [Vander Plaats] ought to read Marbury versus Madison,” Gross said.

Here’s the Twitter version of that case: The case established the power of judicial review – the court’s authority to declare laws unconstitutional.

“One remedy is to obtain a constitutional amendment,” Gross said. “That takes a while, but our founders didn’t want to make it easy.”

Gross referred to Vander Plaats because Thomas Beaumont reported on Sunday that “Republican gubernatorial prospect Bob Vander Plaats called for the impeachment of the entire seven-member Iowa Supreme Court after the decision.” According to Hansen,

Vander Plaats’ people demanded a retraction.

Beaumont found a replay of the interview on the WHO radio Web site and read the pertinent parts back to Vander Plaats’ top aide.

Never mind.

Looks like Bleeding Heartland user ragbrai08 was right; Vander Plaats has a little Eddie Haskell in him.

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