Tuesday night, the Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a civil rights and defamation case against Gov. Terry Branstad and members of his staff.
Chris Godfrey, the Iowa Worker’s Compensation Commissioner claims he was asked to resign because he’s openly gay. After he refused, the governor drastically cut Godfrey’s pay.
Among the issues before the Iowa Supreme Court — were Branstad and his staff acting in their official capacity as state employees?
The Iowa Attorney General certified they were. As a result, the district court automatically named the state as the sole defendant.
The governor’s attorney says that decision should stand.
Godfrey’s attorney says they were never even given the opportunity to argue their case.
“In this case not only was there not due process, there was no process of any kind…not only did we not have an opportunity to appear, not only did we not have an opportunity to give evidence, to participate, we didn’t even know about it,” Godfrey’s attorney Roxanne Conlin told the court.
“What’s being sought here is a right to review when they’ve elected to sue under the Iowa Tort Claims Act so we can only deal with the remedy they selected. The remedy they selected does not provide them with the due process right. This court has said so and it’s simply not there and the only way we can place it there is to do what they want this court to do and to rewrite the act to suit its purposes,” countered state’s attorney George LaMarca.
The justices will review the case. There’s no indication when they’ll rule.