A group of conservatives in the Iowa state House have filed a measure that would cut the pay of state Supreme Court Justices by around 80 percent — but only for the ones who voted to legalize same sex marriage in 2009.
On Monday, five state House Republicans attempted to amend Senate File 442 with H-1327, which declares that “[a]ny justice appointed to the supreme court prior to April 3, 2009, and who remains a justice of the supreme court on or after the date the electorate ratifies a constitutional amendment declaring marriage between one man and one woman is the only valid or recognized legal union in this state shall have the salary of the justice reduced in accordance with this section unless the justice resigns immediately.”
The amendment states that the four remaining justices who were part of the unanimous Varnum v. Brein decision would have their salaries reduced to the same as a state legislator: $25,000.
As of 2010, associate justices were paid $163,200 and the chief justice made $170,850. If the amendment passes, Justices Daryl Hecht, Brent Appel David Wiggins and Chief Justice Mark Cady all stand to have their salaries cut by more than 80 percent.
But Republican state Reps. Tom Shaw and Dwayne Alons insisted to The Gazette on Tuesday that the reduction in pay was not a punishment.
“It’s our responsibility to maintain the balance of power,” Shaw explained. “We’re just holding them responsible for their decision, for going beyond their bounds.”
State Senate Judiciary Chairman Rob Hogg (D) called the amendment “ridiculous” because the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision established the court’s role in interpreting the Constitution.
Hogg predicted that the amendment would be struck down in court if it became part of Iowa law.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Alons remarked.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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