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11/12/2010

Little known fact: 'Vander Plaats' is actually Iowan for 'courts that cater to my whims'

by Jeremy Hooper

This has to be the most egregious, self-satisfied, overplayed hands in recent "culture war" memory:

The leader of a successful campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices says the four justices who remain on the court should consider stepping down. Bob Vander Plaats of Sioux City, the leader of Iowa for Freedom, says he is not asking for immediate resignations.

“But I do believe those four justices do need to think about the message that was sent on November two, and I believe that they fully realize that if they would have been on that ballot along with their three other peers, that they would have been voted off too,” Vander Plaats says, “so as the appointment process takes place I believe they need to take a look at a timeline and see if that’s something that they would choose to do, is to step down to make sure that they honor the court, and they don’t disrupt the court proceedings by not having a quorum.”

KEEP READING: Vander Plaats says four Supreme Court justices should consider stepping down [Radio Iowa]

So now not only is Bob Vander Plaats (pic., l.) fully admitting that his "Iowa For Freedom" campaign was solely about ONE. RULING., but he's suggesting that the one, faith-motivated, out-of-state-funded, one-sided Screen Shot 2010-11-12 At 3.28.32 Pmcampaign to oust the three judges on the basis of this one opinion should be extended to the other four members of the unanimous Varnum panel as well. There's no longer even the slightest pretense of judging these judges on the basis of their individual merits as jurists. For Vander Plaats, this majority percentage his crew was able to obtain at the polls equates to justification for the cause, that "justification" translates into capital, and that capital allows the anti-LGBT social conservatives go beyond turning this past retention vote into a weapon and instead extend their combative powers to the independent judiciary in general.

The truth, of course, is that the anti-gay side's ability to achieve a 50% +1 margin in Iowa did not add any merit to their war. These votes never do. And in Iowa even less so, since there was surely a sizable percentage of non-retention that had nothing to do with the Varnum opinion, and would've still occurred without Vander Plaats' wholly Varnum-focused IFF campaign. So instead of feeling like he now has two years to breathe down the necks of the other four justices until they cry "uncle," the reality is that its Bob Vander Plaats who deserves to be burdened by tough judicial questions before the next retention vote. His efforts have raised downright chilling questions about minority rights, church/state separation, fair-minded courts, and the dangers of politicizing a process that was designed to strip politics out of justice, while his justifications have all been steeped in the land of convenient talking point. May the glow from a greater national spot enlighten those who were previously in the dark.

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