A resolution calling for the impeachment of activist federal judges was introduced in the House State Affairs Committee Monday morning.
The measure was sponsored by Rep. Paul Shepherd, R-Riggins.
It urges Congress to support the principle that judges “should keep their oath of office to uphold the law, and not make or change the law,” and seeks to clarify that judges should interpret the U.S. Constitution “as close to original intent as possible.”
The recent U.S. District Court ruling overturning Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage was one factor in bringing the resolution forward, although judicial activism is something Shepherd has been concerned about for years.
“The time is right to get back to our Constitution, not just on the marriage issue, but on the commerce clause and privacy and all the things (federal judges) are totally, obviously not correct on,” he said.
Shepherd accused the Supreme Court and other federal courts of “ruling just based on their agenda,” which includes usurping states' rights.
“If you think into it, the state is the highest level of government,” he said. “The Constitution and Supreme Court, even though they're called federal, their oath is to uphold the states. The primacy clause … really gives states primacy. We have primacy on marriage, health care, all those issues.”
Shepherd said he brought forward the resolution “to show I'm fulfilling my oath of office,” as well as to provide a check and balance on the judicial branch.
The committee introduced the resolution on a party line vote.
Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, opposed the measure because it was contrary to the purpose of checks and balances.
“Our purpose here is to make laws, the executive branch carries out the laws and the judicial branch interprets the laws to make sure we got it right,” she said. “The purpose of the judicial branch is to interpret. I value that balance in our government.”