Vander Plaats announcement: not running in November; leading campaign against SupCo justices

Listen to the announcement here.  Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats held a news conference on the sidewalk outside the Iowa Judicial Building and began by saying he had ruled out running for governor as an independent candidate in the fall election.  Vander Plaats then announced he’ll lead an effort to unseat the three Iowa Supreme Court justices who are on November’s ballot in a retention election.

Read the news releases/statements which have been issued regarding these two announcements.


Sioux City Businessman Will Not Run for Governor as Independent Candidate

DES MOINES – Bob Vander Plaats announced Friday morning he will embark on an initiative to unseat the three Iowa Supreme Court justices up for retention this November.
Speaking in front of the Iowa Judicial Building, Vander Plaats announced he has no intentions to seek an independent bid for governor, instead focusing his efforts on the Iowa Supreme Court justices’ retention vote.

“I’m here today to say that I will not be seeking an independent run for governor because I am focused on the future of our state and maintaining our freedoms,” Vander Plaats said. “For too long, we’ve allowed the courts to overstep their authority and there was no clearer example of that than the April 3, 2009 decision by the Iowa Supreme Court on same-sex marriage. The issues of separation of power and judicial activism are important to me and my followers and that’s why we’re going to work to restore the balance between the branches of our government.”
He said he was also motivated by a recently court ruling striking down Arizona’s law to block illegal immigration and a court ruling in California striking down the results of a public referendum to block same sex marriages.

“If the courts will do that on this issue, what’s to say they won’t do it on your Second Amendment rights or eminent domain or any other issue?” he said.

Vander Plaats has been outspoken regarding the court’s decision that struck down the 1998 Defense of Marriage Act.  
“It is the legislative branch that is the voice and representation of the people that make law, not the courts,” Vander Plaats said. “Members of the General Assembly made themselves clear in 1998 with the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act upholding that marriage in Iowa is between one man and one woman.  The Iowa Supreme Court opinion on April 3, 2009 claiming to strike down the law was just that – an opinion.”

Vander Plaats said he will be releasing more details about his efforts to unseat the Supreme Court justices next week. 

“I can tell you this, though, we will run a very focused, grassroots campaign and the results are going to send a signal across this country that we’re not going to let appointed judges usurp the will of the people any longer,” he said.

Branstad issues statement on Vander Plaats decision

(URBANDALE) – Former Gov. Terry Branstad issued the following statement upon learning of Bob Vander Plaats’ intentions this morning:

“This is an issue on which Bob has often spoke with great passion and I understand his desire to pursue this path.  I respect his decision.”


Des Moines – Governor Chet Culver released the following statement following Bob Vander Plaats’s announcement of his new initiative, which will seek to oust Supreme Court justices.

“I support Iowa’s Supreme Court justices and more importantly, I support our judicial nomination and appointment process as it stands today.

“Iowa is known for having the fairest judge selection system in the country. We oppose efforts to make choosing our judges more political, more ideological.

“Terry Branstad and his running mate Kim Reynolds have made it clear that they want to change our system. Branstad has gone so far as to highlight Reynolds’s support for changing the state’s constitution, allowing the governor to reject all nominees sent by the judicial nominating committee, requiring the committee to send names again and again until the governor finds an appointee that supports a certain political agenda.

“This campaign is about the future of our state and about choosing to move forward, instead of backwards. The best way to do that is not to focus on ideological battles but to bring Iowans together by investing in our future to create jobs, continue our national leadership in renewable energy and build 21st Century schools.”  

DES MOINES – One Iowa Executive Director Carolyn Jenison released the following statement today in response to an announcement by Bob Vander Plaats that he will launch a campaign to unseat three Iowa Supreme Court Justices. The three Justices were part of the 7-0 unanimous ruling that cleared the way for the freedom to marry in Iowa.
“Today’s announcement will have little impact on our plans for the fall.  We will continue our efforts to elect fair-minded legislators and educate Iowans about the choices they face this November.”

“While we take this effort seriously, we expect this will be another losing effort by Bob Vander Plaats. Iowa’s courts have a long history of fairness and impartiality. The Varnum ruling is an excellent example of why our courts must remain independent and free from the ever-shifting political winds. The bottom line is that Iowans do not want politics anywhere near our courts.”
One Iowa is the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, committed to full equality for LGBT individuals, including the freedom to marry.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.