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Steve King's Anti-Marriage Equality Plan: Don't Let Federal Courts Rule

Steve King's Anti-Marriage Equality Plan: Don't Let Federal Courts Rule

With marriage equality on the march, Iowa congressman Steve King has unveiled a radical plan to stop it in its tracks: strip the federal courts of jurisdiction in marriage cases.

The far-right Republican introduced the Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015 in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, The Hill reports.

“For too long, federal courts have overstepped their constitutionally limited duty to interpret the Constitution,” King said in a press release announcing the bill. “Rather, federal courts have perverted the Constitution to make law and create constitutional rights to things such as privacy, birth control, and abortion. These unenumerated, so-called constitutionally protected rights were not envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

His legislation, he added, would leave marriage to the states, “where it belongs,” and keep federal courts “from destroying traditional marriage and preserve the votes of millions of voters in states that have passed bans on same-sex marriage.”

The bill has virtually no chance of passing, but it has gained seven House cosponsors, all Republicans, “including some familiar names like Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.),” reports Steve Benen on MSNBC’s Maddow Blog. “And that’s a shame because, even by 2015 standards, this idea is just bonkers.”

Other right-wingers have attempted to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over their pet causes, Benen notes — Sen. Jesse Helms with school prayer in the 1980s, and Sen. Sam Brownback and Rep. Todd Akin with the Pledge of Allegiance about 10 years ago.

“Congress has never actually passed a court-stripping scheme — we can only speculate about the constitutional crisis it would invite — and even if the GOP-led House tried to pursue this idea in 2015, there’s simply no way it’d overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate or get President Obama’s signature,” Benen continues. “But the fact that several members of Congress are pushing such a proposal — all while Ted Cruz expresses interest in the same idea — speaks to an ugly strain of radicalism among Republican lawmakers.”

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