Iowa Supreme Court reverses lower court ruling against Branstad

Terry Branstad resigns as Iowa’s governor and is sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to China on May 24, 2017. Photo: WHO (HD)

(Des Moines, IA) -- The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed a decision against former Governor Terry Branstad. In 2011, Branstad had asked several people appointed by previous Governor Chet Culver to resign.

Chris Godfrey was a Worker's Compensation Commissioner who had two years left on his term and refused to leave. Branstad cut Godfrey's salary by $40,000 per year. Godfrey eventually left state government in 2014.

Godfrey sued, claiming he was discriminated against because he's gay. A lower court ruled in Godfrey's favor in 2019, and awarded him $1.5 million.

The Iowa Supreme Court, however, found Branstad did not violate the state's constitution. The Iowa Supreme Court said, “Godfrey has no procedural or substantive due process right under the Iowa Constitution in continuing his salary at a particular level or in having his salary set within a statutory range according to a particular process. Godfrey’s claim thus fails as a matter of law.”

The opinion reverses the judgement in the case and remands the case for dismissal of Godfrey’s claims

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