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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Governor Wimps Out in Push to Oust Lousy Judges

Branstad says grounds for impeachment not there
The Associated Press - January 4, 2011

URBANDALE, Iowa - Republican Gov.-elect Terry Branstad said he believes that retention votes -- such as the one in November in which voters ousted three state Supreme Court justices -- and not impeachment proceedings are the best way to decide whether the court's other four justices should keep their jobs. Branstad told The Gazette on Monday that he disagrees with the court's unanimous 2009 ruling legalizing gay marriage in the state, but that he doesn't believe it rises to the level of malfeasance prescribed in the Iowa Constitution that would warrant the state House to consider impeachment. Branstad, who will be sworn in for a fifth term as governor later this month, said he believes the court overreached when it struck down the Defense of Marriage Act he signed in 1998 that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Gay marriage opponents argue that the seven justices legislated from the bench by allowing gay marriage, overstepping their constitutional authority to such an extent that warrants impeachment proceedings. "There's a difference between malfeasance and overreaching, I think. I really think that if people look at the Constitution, I think the remedy is that when they come up for retention that people have a chance to vote them out. I think that's the appropriate remedy. I don't think that impeachment is the appropriate remedy," Branstad said. The incoming governor said he disagrees with House Republicans who have indicated they are drafting articles of impeachment against Justices Brent Appel, Mark Cady, Daryl Hecht and David Wiggins. Three other justices -- Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit -- ended their terms on Dec. 31 after losing retention votes in the November election. Branstad also told the paper that he doesn't think Iowa can afford the new two-year contracts that outgoing Gov. Chet Culver negotiated with three employee unions that would provide for a series of across-the-board salary increases. But Branstad said he would oppose treating unionized employees differently by giving them a pay increase that would not be extended to all state workers. He said that would make union employees a "privileged class" and saddle taxpayers with a cost not warranted under current budget restraints. While lawmakers and previous governors have decided to treat employees differently by not extending all the raises included in the collective bargaining to all non-contract state workers, Branstad said he disagrees with that practice. "I'm saying that's wrong and we are going to correct that," he said. Budget officials have estimated that extending the new pacts to all state workers would cost more than $103 million in fiscal 2012. Branstad wants to reopen contract talks with an eye on freezing state employee wages and changing some benefits and compensation provisions. Without bargaining units agreeing the reopen talks once Branstad takes office, he said it appears that cutting the number of state workers to offset the pay increase might be his only option.


thought it was Andrew Cuomo said...

I wonder how the new New York governor Andrew Cuomo is going to stand up to the corrupt judges. It'll be interesting....

Anonymous said...

Lovely, another governor who won't, or can't, stand up to the widespread corruption in this county.

Themis unblinded said...

You kiss the judges' [] and expect the judges to repay you in court. Don't kiss and get slapped. How Cuomo will act? The "son of Mario" is seeking another Judith Kaye to appoint as Chief Judge.

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2