Former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats is escalating his efforts to oust three Iowa Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of gay marriage.

Appearing Sunday on KCCI's Newsmakers, Vander Plaats said the judges should be removed because they overstepped their authority.

“They voided the law and it should have gone back to the legislature,” he said on the program. “We saw the Supreme Court go outside its jurisdiction. The legislature is responsible for creating all laws. [Iowa for Freedom] truly believes the [court] usurped the will of the people.”

“All power is inherent in the people, not the courts,” he added. “This is a great civics lesson on who makes law, executes law and amends the constitution.”

The low-lying campaign to remove the judges has been underway since the court's unanimous April 2009 ruling that brought gay marriage to the Midwest. But after losing the Republican nomination for governor to Terry Branstad, who is also opposed to gay marriage, but, unlike his rival, did not focus his bid exclusively on repeal of gay marriage, Vander Plaats shifted his focus to the judges.

The Sioux City businessman has rented office space and hired six staffers to man his Iowa for Freedom campaign.

Voters will decide in November whether to keep Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit. The remaining four judges are not on the ballot this year.

Also appearing on the program was former Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark McCormick, who told KCCI host Kevin Cooney and Vander Plaats that the appropriate means of altering the decision is to amend the Iowa Constitution and that removing the judges will not reverse the ruling.

“You're presupposing without any basis in fact or in law that this court did not have jurisdiction to apply the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. But it does, and that's part of the judicial oath here,” McCormick said.

Three Republican 2012 presidential hopefuls are already on record as supporting the effort.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum are in favor of axing the judges for deciding in favor of gay marriage.