State News Roundup
A panel of federal appeals-court judges last week overturned a U.S. District Court ruling and declared unconstitutional the men-only admissions policy at a Virginia military college because similar opportunities are not available for women.
The three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said the state provided no justifiable reason for permitting the state-financed Virginia Military Institute to admit only men.
But the court did not call for the state to admit women to V.M.I. Rather, it remanded the case to U.S. District Judge Jackson Kiser, who originally upheld the constitutionality of the admissions policy. He will supervise state remedies to the situation.
The appellate panel did not mandate particular remedies, but said they could include admitting women to the institute, providing such opportunities for women elsewhere, or ending the flow of public dollars to the school.
The panel acknowledged the educational validity of the single-sex institution, and said that if women were admitted, it would alter the educational value of the institute.
Lawyers for V.M.I. said in a statement that they were "extremely pleased with many aspects of the Fourth Circuit opinion.''
The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a state law that established "drug-free zones'' around schools and increased penalties for people convicted of dealing drugs in these areas.
In making the decision, the court rejected an appeal from Andrew L. Peterson, who was convicted of selling cocaine to an undercover police officer in the parking lot of a restaurant in Waterloo. Mr. Peterson was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The trial court also imposed a penalty of five more years because the crime was committed within 1,000 feet of school property.
Mr. Peterson had contended that the statute calling for enhanced punishment was vaguely worded and that the state had to prove that students were congregating on the property in question.
The supreme court rejected those arguments.