# Impeachment



Moves to impeach justices would undermine Iowa courts

Bernard L. Spaeth, Jr. is chair of the Iowa State Committee of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

The Iowa State Committee of the American College of Trial Lawyers condemns impeachment threats made against Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen and Justices Thomas Waterman and Edward Mansfield arising from their decision in Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, et al, v. Reynolds, No. 22-2036 (Iowa Supreme Court, June 16, 2023).

The justices voted to uphold a lower court decision that refused to vacate a four-year old injunction against the 2018 fetal heartbeat bill without new abortion legislation. The Sunday Des Moines Register on July 2 included a guest column from Bob Vander Plaats who argued their judicial act constitutes a “misdemeanor or malfeasance in office” under the Iowa constitution allowing the legislature to impeach and remove them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Does taking a public oath of office mean anything?

John and Terri Hale own The Hale Group, an Ankeny-based advocacy firm focused on making Iowa a better place for all. Contact: terriandjohnhale@gmail.com.

It was October 1973. A recent college graduate took the oath of office as an employee of the federal government in Ottumwa, Iowa. He swore to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic….”

He would spend the next 25 years as a public servant focused on Social Security and Medicare, working with colleagues across the nation to make complex laws understandable and to ensure that people were treated fairly and served well.

That young man was one of this column’s authors.

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Seven Republicans showed the courage Iowa's senators lacked

Seven U.S. Senate Republicans joined all 50 members of the Democratic caucus in voting on February 13 to convict former President Trump on the sole count of incitement of insurrection. Although the number who voted guilty fell ten short of the 67 needed to disqualify Trump from holding any future office, it was the most bipartisan Senate vote on impeachment in U.S. history.

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What Ernst and Grassley are telling Iowans about impeachment

UPDATE: As expected, Iowa’s senators voted to acquit Trump. Their statements explaining that decision are posted here. Original post follows.

Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial began on February 9, with House Democrats arguing it is constitutional and necessary to convict the former president, and lawyers for Trump making a less coherent case that the trial is unconstitutional.

Even if you are not inclined to watch the full four hours of the proceedings, every American should watch the 13-minute, graphic video montage of the January 6 coup attempt, as well as Representative Jamie Raskin’s heartbreaking account of that day at the Capitol. These words from Raskin offered the most concise case for conviction: “This cannot be the future of America. We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people.”

All 50 Democratic senators and six Republicans voted late in the day that Trump is “subject to a court of impeachment for acts committed while president.” The other 44 Republicans, including Iowa’s Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, voted against the premise of this trial.

Neither Ernst nor Grassley released any statement explaining their vote, and they didn’t mention the impeachment proceedings on their social media feeds. However, form letters sent directly to Iowans in recent weeks shed light on how the senators will likely justify their votes to acquit, which are a foregone conclusion.

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Trump leaves Biden an odd "welcome mat"

Herb Strentz reflects on the transfer of power and the reaction from leading Iowa Republican politicians. -promoted by Laura Belin

While President Donald Trump engaged in no traditional “welcome” protocols to greet his successor at the White House, he left something even more important for President Joe Biden and for the sake of the nation. What Trump left us is a bestowal of relief, of trust, of hope and of opportunity that could serve us all well for years to come.

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