Rulings

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Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up any of the cases before them involving same-sex marriage.

Sarah Viren

Imagine you are married. You have a daughter, and when your spouse gets a job in another state, you plan for everything - including the fact that your new state does not recognize your same-sex marriage.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress

While some say this year's Supreme Court session was conservative, others have characterized it as consistent.

John Pemble

While he didn't win the Sioux City senate seat, at least 2010 candidate Rick Mullin and the Iowa Democratic Party won’t have to pay $231,000 to State Senator Rick Bertrand.

Today the Iowa Supreme Court today found that an ad run by Mullin’s campaign did not meet the definition of defamation. 

Senator Bertrand sued Mullin and his party saying the campaign ad purposely misled voters into thinking Bertrand was the owner of the pharmaceutical company Takeda, when in reality he was an employee.

Clay Masters / IPR

In 2009, the Varnum decision made Iowa the third state to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Fast forward five years later, and 17 states now sanction same-sex marriage, several others allow civil unions, and a U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled a federal same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer takes a look at how public and political attitudes on same-sex marriage have shifted, as well as acknowledging the groups that have remained steadfast in their position.

The guests on today's program include:

Gerry Chamberlin

In 1965, 13-year-old Mary Beth Tinker arrived at her Des Moines junior high wearing a black armband to protest the Vietnam War.  Little did she know that this simple act would lead to a historic and controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision.

elycefeliz / Flickr

With George Zimmerman recently acquitted of murder in the death Trayvon Martin host Ben Kieffer looks at the role juries play in the U.S. justice system.  What are the origins of the jury and how have juries evolved over the centuries.  Also, what does the recent flourish of media attention aimed at the jurors for the Zimmerman trial reveal and distort about jury duty?

Scott* / flickr

We continue our series on corrections in Iowa by talking about mandatory minimum sentences. What is the goal of mandatory sentences and how effective are they? What are their legal, social and economic impacts?

In the second half hour, host Ben Kieffer takes a look at Iowa’s special courts – drug courts and mental health courts, for example. We find out how they work differently than conventional courts, the case for how special courts save lives and money, and why several drug courts in the state have closed.

DonTaylor50 / Flickr

The U.S.

Katie Harbath / Flickr

Recently, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke in court for the first time in almost seven years.

Ben Kieffers talks with  Todd Pettys and Song Richardson, two faculty members from the University Of Iowa College of Law. They discuss key cases before nation’s highest court this year including the constitutionality of California’s Prop 8, which bans same-sex marriage, and DOMA, The Defense of Marriage Act.

gavel
SalFalko / Flickr

Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady delivered his State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the Iowa Legislature Wednesday. He's calling for increased staffing in the court system, which has taken a hit in budget cuts in recent years.

Cady wants court offices around the state to stay open all week. Right now they close in the afternoons twice a week. He also tells lawmakers the state doesn’t have enough juvenile officers to reach all of Iowa’s children in need.