On Friday, Justice Zager was the lone dissenter in Office of Citizens’ Aid/Ombudsman v. Edwards. To the casual observer, one dissenting opinion isn’t big news. But it is to us: Since joining Iowa’s high court in early 2011, Justice Zager has been in the majority in every case, which is significant given the relatively high number of dissents the last two years.
The issue in the case was whether Administrative Law Judge Deb Edwards could assert the mental-process privilege in an investigation by the State Ombudsman. The majority said no. But Justice Zager disagreed, arguing that the Ombudsman could not pierce the privilege based on the skimpy record before the Court.
So Justice Zager’s winning streak ends at 156. Not a bad run. But then again, dissenting isn’t always losing. Just ask Justice John Marshall Harlan.