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In a new “In the Balance” podcast, Justice Matthew McDermott, the newest member of the Iowa Supreme Court, talks about growing up in Carroll, Iowa, attending law school in California, and his path from a trial lawyer to the pinnacle of Iowa’s judiciary. The podcast, one in a series of monthly reports on the Iowa courts produced by Iowa Judicial Branch Public Information Assistant Marissa Gaal, is the third interview with a member of the Court. Chief Justice Susan Christensen and Justice Edward Mansfield were previously interviewed. McDermott was appointed to the Court in April by Gov. Kim Reynolds following…
The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in 10 cases Tuesday and Wednesday. Four other appeals will be submitted to the Court without oral argument. Due to the recent rise in new Covid-19 cases, the justices will hear all December arguments by video conference remotely. Go to the Court’s YouTube channel to watch the arguments. Following are brief summaries of the December cases.  Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page to read briefs in these cases. Wermerskirchen v. Canadian National Railroad, et al. To be argued Dec. 15, 9 a.m. Question: Does federal railroad safety law preempt…
An obscenity-laced Facebook post calling an apartment building owner a slumlord may have been vulgar and insulting, but it was not libelous, the Iowa Court of Appeals said in a decision handed down Nov. 30. Sloan, Iowa, apartment manager Richard Bauer created a stir with his battle against construction of a commercial dog kennel next door to his apartment building. The dispute made its way to Facebook, where Bradley Brinkman posted the following comment: “It is because of shit like this that I need to run for mayor! Mr. Bauer, you sir are a PIECE OF SHIT!!! Let’s not sugar…
The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in five cases Tuesday and Wednesday. Six more cases will be submitted to the Court without oral argument. Following are brief summaries of the cases that will be submitted to the Court this week. Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page to read the briefs filed in these cases. All of this week’s oral arguments were moved to video conference on the Iowa Courts YouTube channel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. State v. Ernst To be argued Nov. 17, 9 a.m. Issue: Was circumstantial evidence of intent to commit a…
Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield describes how Iowa’s appellate process works in the newest installment of the Judicial Branch’s “In the Balance” podcast posted Tuesday. Mansfield explains to podcast host Marissa Gaal the difference between retained cases that are heard by the Supreme Court on direct review, cases that are transferred to the Court of Appeals, and cases that are heard on further review of decisions by the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court hears about 110 of the 1,000 to 2,000 appeals filed with the Supreme Court every year, Mansfield said. Most appeals are transferred to the Court…
Two starkly different perspectives were articulated by members of the Iowa Supreme Court in majority and dissenting opinions on the constitutionality of a new state statute requiring county auditors to contact voters who omit personal identification information, including their voter ID numbers, from absentee ballot request forms. In an unsigned per curiam decision handed down Wednesday in League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Majority Forward v. Secretary of State Paul Pate, a four-justice majority held that the new statute, House File 2643, should remain in effect for the 2020 election, finding that the statute would not impose…
The Iowa Supreme Court has agreed to consider an appeal in a case that could decide the constitutionality of recent legislation passed by the Iowa General Assembly that prevents county election officials from using a statewide voter database to fill in voter identification numbers missing from absentee ballot request forms. The Oct. 14 order was signed by Chief Justice Susan Christensen for the Court. Justices Christopher McDonald and Matthew McDermott dissented. The Court is likely to act quickly, as the deadline for requesting absentee ballots is Oct. 24. The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Majority Forward…
With an election just over two weeks away, the Iowa Supreme Court Thursday appeared to close the books on a flurry of litigation on the question of what information county election officials may or may not include on absentee ballot request forms. In an unsigned opinion in Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Iowa Democratic Party v. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (20-1281), the Court reversed an Oct. 5 order by Polk County District Judge Robert Hanson that stayed enforcement of the Secretary of State’s Directive that “County Auditors shall distribute only” blank absentee ballot request…
The Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments in 11 appeals Oct. 14 and 15. In addition, three cases will be submitted to the Court this week without oral argument. Following are brief summaries of the October cases. Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page to read briefs filed in these appeals. In the interest of D.D., Minor Child Issue: Should a Child In Need of Assistance proceeding be terminated? Set for argument Oct. 14, 9 a.m. The father of minor child D.D. seeks further review of a divided July 1 Iowa Court of Appeals decision affirming a Des…
Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen talks about her roots in rural Iowa and her journey from working up from a legal secretary to the pinnacle of Iowa’s court system in an interview on the “In the Balance” podcast now posted on the Judicial Branch website. In the interview with podcast producer Marissa Gaal, Iowa Judicial Branch public information assistant, Christensen talks about how her first job as a legal secretary in a Sioux City law firm led to a passion for the law and a decision to go to law school while raising a family that now includes…