Iowa Supreme Court justice recuses himself from divorce case over previous affair

 April 13, 2024

An Iowa Supreme Court justice found himself in quite an awkward situation regarding an upcoming divorce case. 

According to QCTimes, Iowa Supreme Court Justice Christopher McDonald recused himself from an upcoming divorce case given his prior extramarital involvement with the woman involved in the case.

The case made it to the state's high court after the husband filed an appeal to his wife's divorce terms.

John Mordini appealed a lower court's ruling regarding the divorce terms filed by Nikki Mordini.

What's going on?

John Mordini's appeal reached the state's Iowa Court of Appeals after appealing a district court's decision from earlier this month.

The outlet noted:

In the motion asking for the recusal, which was filed the same day as the appeal, John Mordini stated McDonald and Nikki Mordini, an immigration and family law attorney, were involved in an affair during the time of the marriage.

In the motion, Mordini wrote that the affair "had a significant negative impact on the marriage and ultimately contributed to the breakdown in the bonds of matrimony."

Additionally, the motion pointed out that Nikki Mordini met with McDonald last summer after filing for the divorce, revealing at the time that John Mordini knew about their extramarital affair. The motion argued that as a result, a recusal was necessary.

"It would be impossible for the appellant to believe he would be given fair consideration by Justice McDonald given the aforementioned facts and events," the motion read.

For his part, the Iowa Supreme Court justice filed a motion immediately afterward, recusing himself from the case. He filed an updated "amended" version of the motion to recuse himself several days later.

Additional details

There weren't many additional details regarding his amended motion that granted his recusal, other than to note that it was based on a relationship with Nikki Mordini "that occurred more than a decade ago."

A spokesperson for the Iowa Judicial Branch noted that the justice couldn't provide further comment, citing "the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct," which prevents further discussion of pending cases.

McDonald was appointed by Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in 2019. He previously served on the state's appeals court.

He was divorced in 2009, and has three children, according to the outlet.

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