Iowa’s top two Republican officials are ridiculing President Obama for his recent statements about the Supreme Court. Obama said last week he was confident the court would uphold the health care reform law because of legal precedent. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley took to Twitter to say Obama — a former constitutional law professor — was “stupid” and Governor Terry Branstad calls Obama’s statement “outlandish.”
“I thought it was incredible that somebody that is a graduate of a law school would make the kind of outlandish statements that the president of the United States said,” Branstad told reporters this morning. “…The issue of the Supreme Court being able to decide constitutionality was decided in Marbury v Madison in 1803 and anybody that’s gone to law school knows that.”
Bob Vander Plaats, Branstad’s 2010 Republican Primary opponent, argued the Iowa Supreme Court was an “activist court” by issuing a ruling that legalized gay marriage in Iowa. Vander Plaats had pledged that if elected governor he would issue an executive order to negate that ruling because the ruling had overturned the Defense of Marriage law passed by the legislature. Branstad suggests President Obama would be “making a mistake” if he takes the of advice of people like Vander Plaats.
“I believe in telling it like I see it,” Branstad told reporters, “and, you know, maybe I’m handicapped because I have a law school education, but I did read Marbury v Madison and I do understand that it’s been settled law since 1803 that the Supreme Court can decide on the constitutionality of laws…passed by the congress and signed by the president.”
Hear and read all of what Branstad had to say on this topic and read Grassley’s tweet about the president here.
The Republican rival who Governor Branstad ridiculed today suggests Branstad should heed the advice of Iowans who’re upset with the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage. Branstad said President Obama should avoid getting “constitutional law advice” from Vander Plaats.
“It doesn’t concern me if Governor Branstad wants to take legal advice from me,” Vander Plaats told Radio Iowa late this morning. “But he probably should take constitutional advice from the people of Iowa who clearly saw the Supreme Court of Iowa had overstepped their jurisdiction.”
That’s a reference to the 2010 vote which tossed three Iowa Supreme Court justices off the bench. Vander Plaats said it is “totally within” the U.S. Supreme Court’s authority to decide whether the national health care reform law is constitutional because a court “can void law”
“The problem is the Iowa Supreme Court went beyond that,” Vander Plaats said. “They made law and they tried to execute law.”
Vander Plaats said the U.S. Supreme Court would overstep its authority if it decides the entire national health care reform law is unconstitutional, but then tries to enforce sections of it as federal law.
(This story was updated at 12:41 p.m. with comments from Vander Plaats.)