Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

Seven justices serve on the Iowa Supreme Court, which is the first court to which an appeal is sent from a trial court in Iowa. The Supreme Court will decide whether to review the appeal or send the appeal to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The majority of the cases that are appealed to the Supreme Court involve criminal, family, or juvenile matters. The Court supervises lower courts in Iowa and administers the affairs of the judicial branch.

A candidate for the Supreme Court must be admitted to practice law in the state, and they also must be able to complete an eight-year term before they turn 72, which is the mandatory retirement age for judges in Iowa. The State Judicial Nominating Commission handles the initial stage of evaluating candidates, since Iowa uses a commission-selection, political appointment system of selecting justices. The Commission provides a list of candidates to the Governor, who will make the final appointment. However, once a justice has been appointed, they must go through a retention election in the first general election after they have served for one year. They will serve the full eight-year term only if they win the retention election. Otherwise, they must leave the Court at the end of the year in which the election is held. The Chief Justice is elected by the other justices of the Court, and they serve for the same term as they would if they were an ordinary justice.

In addition to being voted out in a retention election, there are two ways in which a justice may be removed from the Iowa Supreme Court. First, they may be removed if they are impeached by a majority vote of the Iowa House of Representatives and then convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Iowa Senate. A justice also may be removed if the Supreme Court determines that this is appropriate based on a recommendation by the Iowa Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Browse Opinions From the Iowa Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the Iowa Supreme Court
State v. Johnson  
Date: October 16, 2020
Docket Number: 19-0109

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions for misdemeanor possession of of marijuana and felony eluding with marijuana, holding that the convictions do not merge. After convicting Defendant the district court i...

Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board v. Eric Tindal
Date: October 9, 2020
Docket Number: 20-0005
Iowa Supreme Ct. Att’y Disciplinary Bd. v. Jesse Michael Marzen
Date: September 11, 2020
Docket Number: 20-0472
Iowa Supreme Ct. Att’y Disciplinary Bd. v. John P. Beauvais, Jr.
Date: September 4, 2020
Docket Number: 20-0298
In re Z.P.  
Date: September 4, 2020
Docket Number: 20-0582

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the order of the juvenile court terminating Father's parental rights to his child, holding that Father was not unfairly penalized for working too...

Cohen v. Clark  
Date: June 30, 2020
Docket Number: 18-2173

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case brought by a tenant against her landlord and a neighboring tenant alleging breach of the lease's no-pets provision the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing the case, holding t...

Petro v. Palmer College of Chiropractic  
Date: June 30, 2020
Docket Number: 18-2201

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's claims for violations of a municipal civil rights ordinance and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA) and breach of contract, holding that t...

State v. Chapman  
Date: June 19, 2020
Docket Number: 18-1504

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court ordering Defendant to register as a sex offender after he entered an Alford plea to child endangerment, holding...

Christensen v. Iowa Department of Revenue  
Date: June 19, 2020
Docket Number: 19-0261

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming the determination of the Iowa Department of Revenue that capital gains Taxpayer earned from the sale of farmland she inherited from her father and l...

In re Estate of Franken  
Date: June 12, 2020
Docket Number: 18-0261

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court ruling that Plaintiffs' claim seeking contract damages was barred by the limitations period set forth in Iowa Code 614.17A, holding that the district court er...

State v. Shorter  
Date: June 12, 2020
Docket Number: 18-1142

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of violating Iowa Code 724.4C, which criminalizes carrying a dangerous weapon while intoxicated, holding that the jury instructions were...

Youngblut v. Youngblut  
Date: June 12, 2020
Docket Number: 18-1416

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment in favor of Plaintiff in this will contest, holding that a claim alleging that the decedent's will resulted from tortious interference by a beneficiary must be joined with a timely...

Breese v. City of Burlington  
Date: June 12, 2020
Docket Number: 19-0484

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to the City of Burlington and dismissing Plaintiffs' claim that the City was negligent by giving a sewer box the appearance that it...

State v. Schiebout  
Date: June 5, 2020
Docket Number: 18-0081

Justia Opinion Summary: In this criminal case arising from Appellant's act of writing checks without authorization from a bank account that was not hers the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant's motion fo...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.