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Brenna Bird disrespects America's legal system • Iowa Capital Dispatch

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Brenna Bird disrespects America's legal system • Iowa Capital Dispatch


First, the good news: Most Americans trust juries.

Now, the bad news: Iowa’s attorney general apparently isn’t one of them.

Brenna Bird joined a bunch of other Republican politicians at the New York trial of Donald Trump this week and immediately pronounced it a farce. “Politics has no place in a court of law,” she said.

Unfortunately, Brenna Bird fails this standard. Iowa’s attorney general, who formerly worked for Rep. Steve King, has been aggressively making her name in GOP circles since being narrowly elected in 2022, repeatedly suing the Biden administration. Hardly a week goes by when her public relations people aren’t heralding a new lawsuit. Donald Trump has even practically anointed her a future governor.

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On Monday, Bird took leave of her duties in Iowa to be in New York to be part of the Trump entourage seeking to torpedo the proceedings there. Among her fellow travelers: U.S. Sens. J.D. Vance and Tommy Tuberville.

Iowans who value the rule of law ought to be disgusted. I confess my bias: I tend to believe Trump is probably guilty of falsifying business records. But I’m an opinion columnist, not an officer of the court. And I will reserve final judgment until a jury decides whether the prosecution has proved its case. I also will continue to wait to see whether the jury’s judgment is affirmed by the appellate court Trump surely will go to if he loses.

I will trust their judgment. They’re closest to the case. I’m not.

Brenna Bird is skipping all that. She’s already proclaimed, without a doubt, that Trump is the victim.

These aren’t the actions of a prosecutor who believes in juries and the legal process. They’re the actions of a politician.

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This isn’t to say the legal system is above reproach, of course. Plenty of people have been wronged by the court system, but rich men who live in country clubs aren’t generally among them. They have the money to hire clever lawyers to help them steer clear of consequences. Often, they succeed.

In that vein, Democrats have complained about the federal judge overseeing the criminal indictment in Florida accusing Trump of absconding with secret government documents. Some of the complaints have centered on technical, legal questions; others simply grouse about a “Trump judge” seeking to shield him from accountability.

The former is the argument of a lawyer, the latter is politics.

Now consider what Bird said in a statement: “Biden and his far-left allies will stop at nothing to silence President Trump’s voice and keep him off the campaign trail by keeping him tied up in court … It is wrong, it is election interference, and our country deserves better.”

This kind of analysis won’t get Bird published in a law review, but it might get her on Fox News. Or, as a colleague of mine, Dave Busiek points out, it might earn her an appointment in a new Trump administration, should Trump win in November.

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It could be worse. Bird’s allies have attacked the families of the New York judge and prosecutor. Tuberville even complained about the “supposedly American citizens in that courtroom.” Some took this as an attack on the jury.

If Iowa’s top law enforcement officer objected to those attacks, I haven’t seen it.

At the outset of this article, I noted the good news that Americans trust juries. It’s true. A poll last year released by the National Center for State Courts said 61% of Americans expressed some or a great deal of confidence in state courts. That’s actually higher than it has been in recent years. (The Trump case in New York is being heard in a state court.)

More encouraging is the idea that people who have actually served on juries have an even higher opinion of the court system than the general public. An Ipsos survey last year “found that jurors were far more likely than the general public to trust those in the criminal justice system, such as judges at the federal, state, and Supreme Court level, attorneys, nonlegal staff members and law enforcement,” a New York Times article said.

There’s a reason for that.

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“If you’re sitting on a jury, even for a day or two, you get a window into a very serious and focused environment,” Stephen Adler, a former legal reporter and Reuters editor who wrote a book on the jury system, said in the Times article. “Having that actual contact makes people, regardless of their preconceived notions, feel better about every actor in the process, all the way up to the judges.”

This is why I trust juries. Inside courtrooms, the participants are usually serious. Outside of courtrooms, our politics rarely is.

Since being elected, Bird has done the job in a vastly different manner than her predecessor. Can you imagine Tom Miller trying to undermine a criminal trial in another state? Of course not. Miller used to frustrate Democrats because he wasn’t more political. Now, Bird has turned the job on its head.

In 2022, Brenna Bird barely defeated Miller. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ strength at the top of the ticket undoubtedly carried her over the line. Reynolds won by 18 points, Bird by less than two points. She didn’t even measure up to most of the other Republican statewide candidates.

Bird’s attacks on Biden and her unquestioning support for Trump will surely help her with Republican base voters, and if she remains in Iowa, she’ll need that support given her relatively weak win two years ago. Still, I would like to think for the rest of us, it will have the opposite effect.

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Brenna Bird was right about one thing Monday: Politics has no place in a court of law. Iowa voters should tell her that. It’s a quaint notion in these days of MAGA-fied politics, but we deserve a real prosecutor as our state’s attorney general, not a politician who may well have her eye on the next job, rather than serving the best interests of Iowans.



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Dowling Catholic’s Frye, Mauro win Class 2A state tennis doubles championship

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Dowling Catholic’s Frye, Mauro win Class 2A state tennis doubles championship


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Iowa’s best tennis players from Class 2A and 1A showcased their talents at the Iowa high school girls tennis tournament on Friday and Saturday.

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The Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City was the site for 1A finals, while Johnston High School in Johnston played host to the 2A finals. 

Here is a recap of the 2A and 1A finals. 

Dowling Catholic’s Grace Frye, Juju Mauro take home 2A doubles title

Dowling Catholic’s Grace Frye and Juju Mauro toppled Allie Christensen and Lauren Hendrickson of Johnston to win the state doubles title in Class 2A.

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After dropping their first set, 2-6, the Dowling duo bounced back with a 6-3 win in the second set. In a winner-take-all set, Frye and Mauro pulled out a 6-3 win to clinch a state title.

Their state tournament run included wins in straight sets over teams from West Des Moines Valley, Marshalltown and Waukee Northwest to earn a spot in the finals.

Katelynn Kock earns 2A singles title for Cedar Rapids Washington

Cedar Rapids Washington senior Katelyn Kock entered this year’s 2A state tournament as a doubles champion from 2022. She added a singles title to her resume with a win over Lily Holland of Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Kock earned a 6-1 advantage over Holland in the first set, then earned a 6-0 win in the second set to claim her first singles titles.

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Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Gabi Fleming claims 1A singles crown

Gabi Fleming of Cedar Rapids Xavier is just a freshman, but she’s already made her mark in school history. Fleming defeated Kate Holton of Waterloo’s Columbus Catholic in straight sets (7-6, 6-1) to become the second singles titleholder in program history.

“It’s everything, it’s awesome you know? It’s great,” Fleming said.

Fleming was the top-seed heading into the state tournament. In her finals match against Holton, Fleming admitted she started off slow in the first set but picked up the pace in the second. She won all of her four matches by straight sets on her way to her first state title.

“In the first set, I was letting her dictate. I wasn’t really hitting my shots but in the second set, I was like,’ You know what, I’m just going to go for it and make things happen’,” Fleming said. 

Central DeWitt’s Brooke Bloom, Isabelle Pierce win 1A doubles title

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Despite entering the state tournament as an unseeded team, Brooke Bloom and Isabelle Pierce left no doubt that they were the best tandem in the 1A field. The duo from Central DeWitt defeated the top-seeded Kendall Olson and Kaitlyn Olson from Osage (4-6, 7-6, 6-3) to clinch their first state title.

“Everyone we played was so competitive, so good and every single match was a battle, every single point was a battle,” Bloom said. “We didn’t really get handed anything so I think that this is crazy and I’m really grateful to be here with Isabelle.”

After dropping the first set, Bloom and Pierce battled back. It wasn’t the first time that the duo faced adversity, having dropped their first set in the semifinal round. They said they used that experience to push them to win their last two state-winning sets.

“Every year we’ve had to prove ourselves that we were a program, that we were good enough to compete against big schools and every year we’ve came out and surprised people,” Pierce said. “I feel like we proved ourselves here and we proved that our program is an amazing program.”

Marc Ray is the high school sports reporter for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. He can be reached at MARay@gannett.com, and on X, formerly Twitter, at @themarcszn.

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Oregon Football’s New Big Ten Conference Opponents: Iowa, Part 1

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Oregon Football’s New Big Ten Conference Opponents: Iowa, Part 1


Though not an original member the Big Ten Conference, Iowa has been known for its consistency over the last few decades. The Hawkeyes are another program awaiting the arrival of the Oregon Ducks.

“I thank God I was warring on the gridirons of the Midwest and not on the battlefields of Europe. I can speak confidently and positively that the players of this country would much more, much rather struggle and fight to win a Heisman award than a Croix de Guerre.”

– Nile Kinnick, Iowa’s 1939 Heisman Trophy

School History

The University of Iowa was founded in 1847, just 59 days after Iowa was admitted as a state. Until 1964, the official name of the school was State University of Iowa. Classes began in 1855 with 124 students, including 41 women.

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Iowa was one of the first institutions to accept creative work in theater, writing, music, and art on an equal basis with academic research, and, in 1873, became one of the first to granta a law degree to a woman.

The first law school and dental school west of the Mississippi River was established at Iowa. UI was the first university to use radio and television in education. Iowa has produced 46 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Enrollment in 2023 eclipsed 31,000 students. A member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the public research institution had research expenditures in fiscal year 2021 of $818 millions.

In the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings, Iowa is No. 93 among national universities and No. 47 among public schools.

Football Program History

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Iowa football began as a club sport in 1872, but the program was not officially recognized by the university as a varsity team until 1899. The Hawkeyes were an Independent that year, going undefeated and earning an invitation to the Western Conference, the precursor to the Big Ten.

In their first season with the Western Conference, Iowa went undefeated again to win a share of the league title. That success waned as Iowa soon split time between the Western Conference and the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the precursor to the Big Eight.

Success picked up again in the 1920s, with undefeated seasons in 1921 and 1922. Both of those seasons resulted in claimed national titles, though are not among the recognized national championships from the NCAA.

A 6-1-1 record in 1939 produced the program’s first top-10 finish from the Associated Press. That same year, the Hawkeyes notched their only Heisman Trophy winner in program history, Nile Kinnick, would become he namesake for their football stadium.

The 1950s saw Iowa become a national power. From 1953 to 1961, the Hawkeyes were ranked in the top-12 every season, posting five top-10 finishes. In 1961, Iowa was preseason No. 1, but managed to go just 5-4. That was the last season Iowa would be ranked until the 1980s when Heyden Fry took over.

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Fry held the reigns for more than 20 years, leading the Hawkeyes to three Big Ten titles and 14 bowl games, including a trio of Rose Bowls. His 1985 team won a school-record 10 games and took the Big Ten title outright.

In 1998, Fry retired and handed the keys to former assistant Kirk Ferentz. Ferentz kept the consistency going with a trio of top-10 finished in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Despite no Big Ten titles since 2004, Iowa has only missed the bowl season once while reaching double-digit wins six times.

Iowa represented the West Division in two of the final three Big Ten Championship games before the league eliminates divisions this fall.

Championships and Heisman Trohpy Winners

Claimed National Championships: 5 (1921, 1922, 1956, 1958, 1960

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Confrence Titles: 13

Heisman Trophy Winners: Nile Kinnick (1939)

Oregon is set to join the Big Ten Conference in 2024. For information on the league as a whole and where to read about the other programs, refer toOregon Football’s New Big Ten Conference Opponents: Rich History, Distance.



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Iowa Park Lady Hawks one win away from State

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Iowa Park Lady Hawks one win away from State


IOWA PARK, Texas (KAUZ) – The Iowa Park Lady Hawks are set to face the Coahoma Bulldogettes for a chance to go to the UIL State Tournament.

The game will be on Saturday, May 24 at the Graham ISD Softball Field.

The team defeated River Road in their last matchup to become Regional Semifinal Champions.

“From day one they were trying to be last year’s team and they are not,” Iowa Park Softball Coach, Eric Simmons said.

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“We graduated so many players and got so many new faces. So, I just had to tell them to be themselves, be the best version of themselves, and let what happens happen through the season,” Simmons said.

The Lady Hawks have won 12 of their last 13 games.

They have outscored their opponents this off-season by a total of 60 to 14.

“When I got moved up earlier this season, I just wanted to come in and help the team in whatever way possible,” Iowa Park Lady Hawks, Rowan Pike said.

“I was a little nervous at first, but as the season went on I got more comfortable,” Pike said.

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The Lady Hawks will face the defending 3A State Champions, Coahoma Bulldogettes.

The Bulldogettes have won 55 straight games. Their last time losing was in March of 2023.

“I do not doubt in my mind that we are winning, like if we beat Coahoma we are going to win state,” Iowa Park Lady Hawks, Raylee Huse said.

The Lady Hawks look to punch their ticket to the state tournament for the first time since 2022.

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