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Iowa Supreme Court’s 2023-24 term begins with oral arguments Sep. 13-14

by Rox Laird | August 23, 2023

The Iowa Supreme Court is set to begin its 2023-24 term with oral arguments Sept. 13 and 14 in Des Moines. The justices will travel to the Waverly-Shellrock High School for an evening oral argument on Sept. 19 and to the University of Iowa Law School on Sept. 29. The Court will also go on the road in October, February, and April to hear oral arguments in four other locations that have not yet been announced.

The Iowa Supreme Court’s adjudicative term – when the justices hear arguments and decide cases – runs for nine months between September and June each year with the interim summer months devoted to administrative matters such as rules governing trial and appellate procedure.

For the coming term, the Court has so far put more than 40 cases on the oral argument calendar, including direct appeals from district courts and applications for further review of Iowa Court of Appeals rulings. Among the cases accepted are appeals involving medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, employment discrimination, and criminal cases. [Go to On Brief’s “Cases in the Pipeline” page to read briefs filed in these cases thus far.]

On Sept. 13 and 14, the Court will hear oral arguments in six appeals. Eight additional cases will be submitted to the Court without oral argument, including two attorney discipline cases, meaning those cases will be decided on the basis of briefs filed with the Court by the parties.

Among the cases scheduled to be argued Sept. 14 is an appeal filed by 11 current or former state legislators seeking to block subpoenas of their documents and communications in a suit brought by the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa against the Secretary of State and Attorney General challenging the constitutionality of legislative action on Iowa election law. [Senator Roby Smith et al. v. Iowa District Court for Polk County.]

Also on Sept. 14, the Court will hear arguments in a Boone County man’s appeal of his conviction for trespass with intent to commit a hate crime for taping notes to the front doors of five residences displaying rainbow flags and saying, among other things, “burn that gay flag.” [State of Iowa v. Robert Clark Geddes.]

Also this term, the Court has agreed to hear arguments related to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s civil action against the State challenging the constitutionality of a statute that would ban abortions after fetal cardiac activity has been detected. The full Court on July 25 granted the State’s application for interlocutory appeal of the Polk County District Court’s order temporarily enjoining the State from enforcing the abortion ban. An interlocutory appeal is one brought while a case is proceeding in district court, which often, as in this case, stops the trial court proceedings while the Supreme Court considers an appeal. [Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Inc.; Emma Goldman Clinic; and Sarah Traxler M.D. v. Kim Reynolds, ex rel. State of Iowa; Iowa Board of Medicine.]

All proceedings of the Iowa Supreme Court, whether held in the Judicial Branch Building in Des Moines or in other communities around the state, are open to the public. Oral arguments are also live streamed on the Iowa Courts YouTube Channel and previous arguments are archived for later viewing.

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