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Iowa Supreme Court rejection of civil rights lawsuit not a setback, attorney says

Posted July 18th, 2014 @ 2:48pm

While the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the decision of Polk County District Court Judge Robert Blink that threw out their lawsuit, the attorneys and at least one of the plaintiffs say it's giving them guidance to move forward.

Attorney Tom Newkirk says the decision wasn't the "one we'd hoped for" in the case, but the separate dissent written by Justice Thomas Waterman is one that Newkirk says points to the need for the state to take action to eliminate racial bias.

He points to page 83 of Waterman's dissent, which says that the state gathered data that could have helped to show racial bias in the hiring of employees, but didn't do anything with it.

The plaintiffs sued staring in October of 2007, alleging the state had systemically denied employment to African-Americans.  The plaintiffs claimed the state failed to prevent bias and enforce state law and rules designed to prevent racial discrimination. 

Charles Zander, Senior of Des Moines was one of the plaintiffs.  He says the ruling just "strengthens my resolve" to do "whatever it bring justice." Because so much time has passed since they began the lawsuit, he says several of the original plaintiffs have died.

Here is a portion of what Tom Newkirk told reporters Friday:

Here's part of Charles Zanders, Sr.'s comments at a news conference:


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