The lawyer representing the African-Americans who sued the state has filed an appeal of the Polk County District Court ruling that said they failed to prove they were discriminated against in hiring and promotions for state jobs.
Thomas Newkirk of Des Moines said immediately after the April 17th ruling that he would appeal, and now has followed through.
“We’ve been consistent in our message in this case that we’ve been pursuing, oh really from the summer of 2005 to the present. We’ve been consistent in the message that we’ve been asking the State of Iowa to join with us to kind of change the approach to how we deal with discrimination in a large employment situation like the State of Iowa,” Newkirk says.
With the appeal filed, Newkirk must now present information, or briefs, on why he believes the ruling by the court was in error. The appeal process could take several months, but Newkirk says his clients are used to waiting.
“They are the most patient people that I’ve ever met in terms of dealing with these issues. Are they disappointed? Yes, but they’ve suffered disappointment many times before in our society and I am certain that they will again,” Newkirk says.
“I tell them that…I as the team’s lawyer am committed to helping them push forward this issue to change the conversation so that the system can be fixed to remove barriers that exist to African-Americans to enjoying full equality.”
There are 29 named class representatives in the lawsuit and as many as 6,000 members involving over 20,000 employment applications going back to 2003.