Congressman Trent Franks has publicly
advocated impeaching President Barack Obama for deciding to no longer
defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
The Arizona Republican is the first
elected official to call for the inquiry.
Obama announced last week that he
believed parts of the law are unconstitutional and ordered the
Department of Justice to stop defending the law in court. The
Clinton-era law bans federal agencies from recognizing the legal
marriages of gay and lesbian couples and allows states to ignore such
marriages from other states.
Franks made his comments in a
videotaped interview with Think Progress' Scott Keyes at the Tea
Party Patriots Policy Summit in Phoenix.
Franks told Keyes that he would support
“in a moment” defunding the Department of Justice over the
decision, then added that he would “absolutely” support
“If it could gain the collective
support, absolutely,” Franks said. “I called for [Attorney
General] Eric Holder to repudiate the policy to try terrorists within
out civil courts, or resign. So it just seems like that they have an
uncanny ability to get it wrong on almost all fronts.” (The video
is embedded in the right panel of this page.)
New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler
said he was “shocked” by Frank's comments.
“I am shocked by Chairman Franks'
reckless call to impeach President Obama, and I call upon the House
Republican leadership to take impeachment off the table,” Nadler
said in a statement.
“By declining to defend in court the
constitutionality of a law he believes is unconstitutional, he is
defending the Constitution, and by enforcing the law until a court
declares it unconstitutional, he is taking 'care that the laws be
The 53-year-old Franks serves as
chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution.