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Democrats Lose Suit Against Governor over Toledo Home

John Pemble/IPR
Iowa Judicial Branch Building

The Iowa Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit that challenged Governor Branstad’s decision to close the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo last year.  

Democratic lawmakers and a public employee union leader sued, claiming the governor exceeded his authority by closing the home after the legislature appropriated money to run it.    

The court ruled the case is moot since no money was appropriated to reopen the home.  

Ryan Koopmans with the Nyemaster Goode law firm in Des Moines says the court declined to enter a constitutional fight over the separate branches of government.

“Essentially what the court is saying is this is a gray area about where the power of the legislative branch ends and the power of the executive branch begins,” Koopmans says.

Koopman says since the case is moot, the court believed it  was under no obligation to make a constitutional ruling.

“Unless you have an active fight,” Koopmans says the court ruled, “then we're not going to draw the lines for you.”

The governor ordered the home closed last year after reports of abuse of young girls. 

The governor’s critics had hoped for a ruling to apply to future closings of state facilities.