After Bob Vander Plaats and Religious Right groups successfully defeated three Iowa Supreme Court justices in November’s retention vote, now Vander Plaats thinks that the entire bench should resign. Vander Plaats, who was recently called by The Hill one of the most important figures that every “Republican presidential hopeful” should “have on speed dial,” says of the four remaining justices that “because of their presence on the court today I think there’s a credibility issue and an integrity issue.” The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled in April of 2009 that the ban on same-sex marriage violated the state’s constitution, and since then outside groups like the American Family Association and the National Organization for Marriage poured in funding to help Vander Plaats convince voters to give three of the judges the boot in November.
Vander Plaats is the founder of The Family Leader, which hopes to make the concerns of the Religious Right and social conservatives a prominent part of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. According to Vander Plaats, since the voters rejected three of the judges, one should just assume they would have voted against retaining the entire bench: “If all seven would have been on the ballot all seven of them would have been voted off.”
He went on to say, “I believe it is now time for the four remaining Supreme Court justices to respect the will of the people and uphold the honor of the court by resigning in a timely fashion. This is how we hold judicial activism in check.” But wouldn’t respecting “the will of the people” require an actual vote on the four judges?
Apparently, Vander Plaats doesn’t believe that he is in any way obligated to actually “respect the will of the people” by stepping down from political activism even though he lost his own bid to become the Republican nominee for governor in the Iowa primary earlier this year.
Demanding the mass resignation of the Iowa Supreme Court prior to a retention vote isn’t Vander Plaats’s only concern. He now wants the state legislature and governor to block the opening of a new abortion clinic in Iowa, saying he hopes Republicans will “beef up our legislation to prevent such a thing from happening in the state of Iowa.”
As Vander Plaats emerges as one of Iowa’s most powerful right wing activists, it remains to be seen how many Republican state legislators will resist his extremist calls.