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Marriage Equality

WATCH: Idaho Republicans Want to Gut Federal Courts to Stop Marriage Equality

WATCH: Idaho Republicans Want to Gut Federal Courts to Stop Marriage Equality


A novel solution to the so-called gay marriage problem: wipe out large swaths of the federal court system.

Idaho Republicans have come up with a creative response to the numerous pro-equality rulings from federal courts: get rid of all the judges.

The Idaho House voted 44-25 last week to recommend the impeachment of any federal judge who overturned a state marriage ban. That includes the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

If the state legislators' mission is to stop marriage equality, this isn't much of a solution, since a judge could only be impeached after issuing a pro-equality decision, which would, presumably, still take effect.

In addition, the vote was purely symbolic and carries no actual authority. The state legislature has no authority over federal judges. All the state lawmakers can do is submit advisory opinions to Congress.

As it stands, the vote serves only as an intimidation tactic. At least, that's the best guess as to its purpose, since the measure's Republican sponsor seems to have become tongue-tied during a speech to the House: "I think somehow, someday we've gotta take a stand," said Rep. Paul Shepherd. "You can't say an immoral behavior according to God's word, what we've all been taught since the beginning, is something that's just, and that's really kinda what this is all about. ... We'd better uphold Christian morals."

If Congress was to follow through with the request, it would put a significant dent in the federal court system. More than 60 judges in state and federal have ruled in favor of marriage equality in the last two years. There are just shy of 900 federal judges in the country. Judges are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate -- a time-consuming process -- so replacing 60 of them all at once would be a fairly daunting endeavor.

Get up to speed on the latest efforts to stem the tidal wave of marriage equality below:

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Matt Baume