(The Center Square) – Iowa school districts can continue requiring students and staff wear masks in schools until a federal lawsuit challenging HF 847 is heard, District Court Judge Robert Pratt decided last Thursday.
Under HF 847, school districts are prohibited from issuing mask mandates.
“Again, the Court recognizes issuing a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy, however, given the current trajectory of pediatric COVID-19 cases in Iowa since the start of the school year, the irreparable harm that could befall the children involved in this case, Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits, the grave harm to Plaintiffs if Iowa Code section 280.31 is not enjoined, and the important public interests at stake, such an extreme remedy is necessary,” Pratt said in his ruling.
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that afternoon she has appealed the preliminary injunction, sending the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
“We will never stop fighting for the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children and to uphold state laws enacted by our elected legislators,” Reynolds said in the news release. “We will defend the rights and liberties afforded to all American citizens protected by our constitution.”
The case will be assigned to a three-judge panel “in the coming days,” the release said.
When a case is assigned to a three-judge panel, both parties present, via written briefs, their opinion of the trial court’s decision. The vast majority of federal appeals (80%) are decided based on the written briefs, but oral argument is possible, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said. The appellate panel will issue a 3-0 or 2-1 decision, which typically includes an opinion. Written opinions are posted online.
After the panel decision, a case can only continue if:
- Judges send the case back to the trial court
- The court decides to rehear the case because of a potential conflict with a previous decision
- A party seeks a rehearing before the appellate panel or desires the case be reviewed in the Supreme Court or before the full appeals court
All but one judge (Judge Jane Kelly) on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit were appointed by Republican presidents. Former President Barack Obama appointed Kelly.
Read Judge Pratt’s decision below: