# Judiciary



Court rejects every argument for reinstating Iowa's 2018 abortion ban

A Polk County District Court has denied the state’s request to lift a permanent injunction on a 2018 law that would ban most abortions in Iowa.

Judge Celene Gogerty had asked skeptical questions of both sides during a hearing in late October. But her December 12 ruling agreed with key legal arguments the ACLU of Iowa made on behalf of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. The judge comprehensively rejected points private attorneys raised on behalf of Governor Kim Reynolds.

Reynolds immediately pledged to appeal the decision to the Iowa Supreme Court, which will likely hear the case next year. Although some justices have signaled they might uphold sweeping abortion bans, Gogerty’s decision gives the justices several ways to determine that this case is not the vehicle for reaching that outcome.

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Supreme Court case could become slippery slope

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com

Few people like being told what they must do. Lorie Smith is one of them.

The suburban Denver, Colorado business owner, a devout Christian, builds websites for customers. She wants to expand her business and begin building websites for couples who are planning weddings.

But she is adamant that she does not want to be forced to build websites for same-sex couples. Doing so, she says, would violate her faith, which does not allow her to celebrate same-sex marriages.

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Affirmative action benefits all students and communities

Matt Sinovic is the Executive Director of Progress Iowa, a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization.

Iowans know everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or economic status. We know education is one of the greatest methods to achieve success, and we believe talented students from all backgrounds deserve a fair shot to overcome obstacles to educational opportunity.

We also know that the greatest opportunity to learn comes in diverse settings, where we can discuss with and learn from people of different races, religions, and ethnicities. Learning from people with different backgrounds benefits our nation, our communities, our workforce and our students. 

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How Iowa Supreme Court's McDermott, Oxley have decided big cases

Disclosure: I am a plaintiff in an open records lawsuit that is pending before the Iowa Supreme Court on interlocutory appeal. (The governor’s office appealed a lower court ruling against the state’s motion to dismiss our case.) That litigation has nothing to do with this post.

On the back side of Iowa’s general election ballot, voters have a chance to vote yes or no on allowing two Iowa Supreme Court justices, two Iowa Court of Appeals judges, and dozens of lower court judges to remain on the bench.

No organizations are campaigning or spending money against retaining Justices Dana Oxley and Matthew McDermott, whom Governor Kim Reynolds appointed in 2020.

Nevertheless, I expect the justices to receive a lower share of the retention vote than most of their predecessors. Shortly after the newest justices were part of a controversial ruling on abortion in June, the Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom found a partisan split in attitudes toward the Iowa Supreme Court, with a significant share of Democrats and independents disapproving of the court’s work.

This post seeks to provide context on how the justices up for retention have approached Iowa Supreme Court decisions that may particularly interest Bleeding Heartland readers.

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When "reasonable" takes a turn that is not

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com

“Reasonable” is a word that is used often in Iowa’s laws. Reasonable fees. Reasonable rules. Reasonable efforts. Reasonable force.

But events in recent weeks show government officials are not always following what many Iowans would think the term means. And when government officials deviate from “reasonable,” they should not be surprised if their standing or the stature of their agency suffers in the public’s eyes.

Consider the Linn-Mar Community School District.

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ACLU dismantles state's case for reinstating 2018 abortion ban

The ACLU of Iowa filed new legal arguments last week in Iowa’s most important pending abortion rights case. Governor Kim Reynolds is seeking to reinstate a near-total abortion ban, which a Polk County District Court found unconstitutional in 2019.

Last month, private attorneys representing the state in this litigation (since Attorney General Tom Miller declined to do so) gave the District Court one big reason to lift the permanent injunction on a 2018 law that would ban almost all abortions after about six weeks.

In a response brief filed on behalf of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the ACLU gave the District Court several paths to reject the state’s request.

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