Bob Vander Plaats Launches 2012 Effort to Oust Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins
The three-time GOP Iowa gubernatorial candidate is organizing efforts to unseat a fourth Iowa Supreme Court justice who voted to allow same-sex marriage in the state.
An organized effort to unseat Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins -- who voted on a ruling that allowed same-sex marriage in Iowa -- was announced Saturday by Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The Family Leader.
His organization is holding a Family Leadership Summit in Waukee Saturday, billed as a way for Christian conservatives to gather and discuss what's important to them.
Vander Plaats is a familiar and powerful presence in Iowa Republican politics. He has run unsuccessfully for governor three times, but two years ago was able to harness opposition to the Iowa Supreme Court's 2007 ruling that allowed same-sex marriage. That opposition ousted three members of the court who were up for retention in 2010.
And his initiative announced Saturday, Iowans for Freedom, will target Wiggins, who will be on the November ballot for retention. Last week, the Republican Party of Iowa urged voters to oust Wiggins for his vote on the same-sex marriage ruling, saying that he was among a handful of judges who overstepped his authority in deciding the matter.
In the announcement, Vander Plaats said, "Two years ago, Iowans agreed with the common-sense rationale and education presented to them that these seven judges went far beyond their constitutional bounds. This is an accountability mechanism, given to 'We the People,' for the purpose of keeping activist and/or incompetent judges accountable."
Vander Plaats also helped galvanize conservative pastors opposed to same-sex marriage two years ago. One of those was Jeff Mullen, pastor of Point of Grace Church where Saturday's summit will be held. Mullen earlier this year lost a GOP primary race, where he campaigned in part on his opposition to gay marriage.
While Vander Plaats will serve as state co-chair of the initiative, serving with him will be Republican National Committeewoman-elect Tamara Scott, also a co-chair. The initiative's senior advisor is former Rep. Steve King chief of staff Chuck Laudner; the executive director will be Greg Baker, former Iowa College Republican chairman.
Vander Plaats urged the audience at Saturday's summit to vote Wiggins out of office in November.
"If they will redefine the institution of marriage, without even blinking an eye, your private property is up for grabs," Vander Plaats said. "Your second amendment is at their very whim. ... Anything is up for grabs."
From the Leadership Summit
A thousand Iowans filed into the Waukee Point of Grace church Saturday, to hear a collection of local and national speakers "plant the seeds of conservativism."
The Family Leadership Summit collected notable speakers from across the country, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Chuck Grassley, former presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum and, later in the evening, former Gov. Mike Huckabee will speak.
Much of the afternoon focused on support of traditional marriage, including comments about the recent controversy at the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A.
Vander Plaats also made a surprise announcement that 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee would be broadcasting his radio show live from Point of Grace Church.
Huckabee -- the Iowa Caucuses winner in 2008 -- told the audience that Fox decided to do his radio show live because of the vice presidential announcement, and he insisted the show be done in Iowa tonight.