While a group of House Republicans drafting articles of impeachment against the remaining four justices on the Iowa Supreme Court, a key G.O.P. leader says there’s been no decision yet on whether the House will even debate impeachment. And the Democratic leader in the Iowa House says Democrats will use delay tactics in debate to “shut the place down” if Republicans decide to proceed with impeachment.
House Republican Leader Linda Upmeyer of Garner says the 60 Republicans who’ll be serving in the House this year need to meet privately and discuss the prospect of impeachment.
“I know I have members interested in doing that. I know I have members that are not interested in doing that,” Upmeyer says. “So, when we’ve had the discussion, we’ll be sure and make sure all Iowa knows what our intents are.”
During an interview with Radio Iowa, Governor-elect Terry Branstad said there do not appear to be grounds for impeaching the four justices.
“People should read the constitution,” Branstad said. “I think whether you’re a lawyer or not a lawyer, if you read the constitution, I think it’s pretty obvious.”
Branstad, who is a lawyer, calls impeachment a “very long, involved process” that should be approached with caution.
“Individual legislators have a right to their own opinion,” Branstad said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “I guess my advice would be, to every one of the members of the General Assembly: This is very serious. Read the constitution before you make a decision.”
House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy is drawing a line in the sand. “If they choose to bring articles of impeachment we’ll use every proceedural tool at our disposal,” McCarthy said this afternoon during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa, “and I expect that the debate will be epic in scope.”
McCarthy isn’t sharing what specific tactics Democrats might use. There are no time limits on debate in the Iowa House unless both parties agree to end debate at a certain time, and McCarthy doesn’t sound like he’s willing to agree to limit debate on impeachment.
“It’s not at all likely that even if they tried to bring articles of impeachment that they would be able to muster the votes for passage,” McCarthy told Radio Iowa. “And I wanted to assert that very strongly so that the Republicans know — you know, we’re hearing that this groundswell is building in their caucus — if they choose to do this we feel it will be such an abuse of power and so extreme that our response will be just as strong as that abuse of power is on the other side.”
Upmeyer, the Republican leader in the Iowa House, was asked today whether she believes the Iowa Supreme Court “overreached” when it issued the 2009 opinion which had the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage in Iowa. Upmeyer said she wants to talk with the other 59 Republicans in the Iowa House first before she reveals her thoughts on the issue.
“I think it’s unfair, actually, to color this discussion with my personal view until we’ve had an opportunity to talk,” Upmeyer said. “We haven’t even sworn these new legislators in yet and so I’m going to wait and have that discussion.”
Upmeyer made her comments this morning during taping of the Iowa Public Television program, “Iowa Press” which airs this evening at 7:30.
(This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. after Radio Iowa’s interview with House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy.)