Iowa Supreme Court building.

Iowa Supreme Court building.

Attorneys in a lawsuit over the closing of the Iowa Juvenile Home for Girls in Toledo presented oral arguments Tuesday before the Iowa Supreme Court.

The president of the state’s largest public employees union and four Democratic lawmakers sued Governor Terry Branstad for closing the home when the legislature had appropriated money for it to operate.

The governor is appealing a district court order granting a preliminary injunction to re-open the home. Justice David Wiggins asks Mark Hedberg, attorney for the Democrats, what his clients hope to achieve with their suit now that the home is closed. “What does that get you? Tell me what it gets you for your client’s relief?,” Wiggins says. “What it gets me is this, an understanding in real time what the executive can or can’t do next,” Hedberg answered.

Justice Wiggins had this question for Jeffrey Thompson who is representing the governor. “This seems to be an argument between the governor and legislature about spending and appropriations, why should the courts get in the middle of it,” Wiggins says. “Well in this case, I don’t know that it should,” Thompson says. The justices will rule in 90 days on whether a district court should have granted an injunction to re-open the home.

An attorney for the Democrats agrees the home is not likely to re-open, but says he hopes to clarify what the governor can and cannot do when it comes to closing state facilities.