Iowa Republicans Move to Slash Pay of Pro-Equality Judges

Iowa Republicans, the same group that has been trying to oust the Supreme Court judges who ruled to legalize same-sex marriage there in 2009, have filed legislation that would slash their salaries, Right Wing Watch reports.

IowaFrom the Iowa City Gazette:

A handful of House conservatives want to reduce the pay of Iowa Supreme Court justices involved in a 2009 decision striking down a ban on same-sex marriages as part of an effort to maintain the balance of power in state government.

“It’s our responsibility to maintain the balance of power” between the three co-equal branches of government, Rep. Tom Shaw, R-Laurens, said Tuesday.

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.

Their amendment to House File 120, the judicial branch budget bill, would lower the salaries of the four justices on the seven-member court who were part of the unanimous Varnum v. Brein decision to $25,000 – the same as a state legislator.

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.


  1. AdamTh says

    Oh please do pass this legislation! I love to watch a good cat-fight!

    How in hell do they believe this could stand up to a constitutional challenge?

  2. QJ201 says

    Clearly repugnicunts don’t understand the constitution they pray to.

    Legislators write law
    High Courts interpret the law
    Executives enforce the law

    Clearly this move is clearly unlawful and it is time to start suing these idiots for the costs they incur the state for their foolishness.

  3. RyanInWyo says

    @Brian: Exactly. The Oxford English Dictionary defines punitive as “inflicting or intended as punishment.” Um, I think that’s a pretty good description of the bill.

  4. Chris&David says

    Those genius legislators apparently don’t realize the court’s ruling from 2009 will remain even if/when the justices do leave. Even if they do manage to get a new case before the court, and a new court rules against marriage equality – the couples married since that 2009 ruling will still be married in Iowa.

  5. iowan says

    Believe me – as someone born/raised/still living in Iowa: I am ashamed that we have individuals like that who are elected to represent us at the State level. Representative government has certain bonuses, but here we clearly have illustrated one of the shortcomings.

  6. Nate says

    You can’t lower they pay of only 4 specific judges, you would have to lower the pay of all judges in that specific branch. Even if they pass this…it won’t actually work the way they think it will.

  7. Joseph says

    Wow, what a “classy” move. They just do NOT get up and it takes alot of chutzpah for Republicans to preach about “separation of powers” when that party is constantly on a quest to co-opt or undermine the judicial branch any way they can. Thankfully the Iowa Senate is still controlled by Democrats so the likelihood of this getting through at least that chamber seems questionable. Hopefully in a few years if they do get complete control and put this thing up for a vote it will blow up in their faces like it did in neighboring Minnesota.

  8. Caliban says

    This would be hilarious if it weren’t so damn sad. Who elected these nincompoops who don’t even have a basic understanding of how the various branches of government work? “Wahhhh! The judiciary didn’t vote the way *I* wanted them too so I’m gonna try to get their salaries cut! But it’s NOT a punishment, it’s just payback for something they did!”

    The stupid, it BUUUURNSSSS!!!

  9. Mary says

    The anti-gay forces in Iowa are bordering on self-parody now. You’ve think that after their spectacular failure in the past several years they’d just accept the political reality of SSM in their state and move on to other issues. Why do they insist on drawing attention to themselves? What happened in Iowa was about the worst possible outcome from their perspectives. SSM becoming legal thru public referendum or legislative vote would at least have shown that the people simply disagreed with them. But the anti-gay forces had their ideal situation – judges legislated through the bench, the public getting angry and voting out several judges. But then, apparently, the people saw gay marriages taking place and decided they weren’t such a bad thing. Democrats still kept the state senate and an anti-SSM state amendment has no chance now. The most recent election led to the affirmation of a pro-gay judge – proving that “judicial tyranny” works beautifully in making the voters more liberal over time.

    NOM and its allies in Iowa seem to be gluttons for punishment,

  10. JJ says

    @Mary, the judges did not legislate from the bench. They found that a provision of the law violated the constitution and they struck down that provision accordingly. That’s a judicial function, not legislative.

  11. Bill S. says

    We all know how much the Republicans love our Evangelical Christian Dominionist Founding Fathers, who would not hesitate for a moment to lower judicial salaries in retaliation for decisions they disagreed with.

    Oh wait, except they specifically included a clause in the Constitution forbidding this.

    Maybe Iowa Republicans need to take a page out of their book for a change.

  12. Dearcomrade says

    Can you think of a better way to turn the state supreme court against the Republican party?

    I’m not saying this would remove the courts impartiality in matters before for it, but I wouldn’t want to be an Iowa Republican with a case in front of them if this comes to pass.

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