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Case No. 21-0981

Tommy Marion Copeland
State of Iowa and Iowa Air National Guard

The supreme court granted a veteran’s application for further review of the court of appeals’ opinion affirming the district court’s annulment of his petition for writ of certiorari. He argues the court of appeals erred in finding that as a base security officer he was a confidential employee of the Iowa Air National Guard pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 35C, Iowa’s Veterans Preference statute.



Tommy Marion Copeland


State of Iowa and Iowa Air National Guard

Attorneys for the Applicant

Charles Gribble
Christopher C. Stewart
Haley Bryan

Attorneys for the Resister

Jeffrey Peterzalek
Alan W. Nagel

Supreme Court

Oral Argument Schedule


Dec 15, 2022 1:30 PM


Supreme Court Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Mar 10, 2023
Date Amended:
May 23, 2023

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Aug 31, 2022

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Paul D. Scott, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  Dissent by Tabor, J. (15 pages)

            Tommy Copeland appeals the denial of his petition for writ of certiorari following his termination as an air base security guard for the Iowa Air National Guard.  Copeland claims that, as a veteran, he was entitled to a pre-termination hearing under the Iowa Veterans Preference Act in Iowa Code chapter 35C (2020).  OPINION HOLDS: On our review of the record, we agree with the district court that Copeland’s position as an air base security officer placed him in a confidential relation with his appointing authority.  That confidential relation bars the application of the statutory removal protection provided in section 35C.6.  Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s denial of Copeland’s petition for writ of certiorari.  DISSENT ASSERTS: I respectfully dissent.  I would find Tommy Copeland did not do “strictly confidential” work for the adjutant general so he does not fall within the exception to the veterans-preference statute in Iowa Code section 35C.8 (2020). 

Other Information

Date Further Review is Granted:
Nov 02, 2022
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