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Judicial Nominating Commission Begins Process for Selecting Nominees for Court of Appeals


This news story was published on April 5, 2011.
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Des Moines, April 4, 2011ó The State Judicial Nominating Commission, which is responsible for selecting nominees for appointment to the Iowa Court of Appeals, announced today it will begin accepting applications for the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Edward Mansfield to the Iowa Supreme Court. |Des Moines, April 4, 2011ó The State Judicial Nominating Commission, which is responsible for selecting nominees for appointment to the Iowa Court of Appeals, announced today it will begin accepting applications for the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Edward Mansfield to the Iowa Supreme Court. The Commission has sixty days to send a slate of nominees to the Governor, who makes appointments to the court.

The deadline for applications is April 29, 2011. Any citizen may submit in writing to the secretary of the commission, or to any commissioner, the names of persons for consideration as a candidate for nomination and express views concerning such candidate. Once the application time has run, the Commission will release the names of all applicants along with information about each applicant’s background, experience, and qualifications. This list and other information about the nominating commission and Iowa’s merit selection process will be available on the Iowa Judicial Branch website: www.iowacourts.gov.

The Commission will meet May 9 and 10, 2011, to interview applicants and select a slate of nominees. The interviews will be held in the Supreme Court courtroom and will be open to the public.

The 15-member commission is composed of a chair, who is the senior justice of the supreme court other than the chief justice, seven lawyer commissioners elected by lawyers licensed to practice law in Iowa and seven non-lawyer commissioners appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Iowa Senate. With the exception of the commission chair, membership on the commission is limited to one six-year term. Terms are staggered. The Iowa Constitution requires that commission members be chosen without regard to political affiliation.

Iowa’s process for selecting judges through the use of nominating commissions is known as merit selection. Iowa voters approved the merit selection process in 1962 by constitutional amendment. Merit selection is designed to emphasize the professional qualifications of applicants for judicial appointment and minimize partisan politics. In keeping with this design, the Commission put applicants for judicial office through a rigorous and thorough screening by reviewing extensive information about each applicant’s background, education, professional skills, and experience. After the interviews, the commission sends the governor a slate of nominees. Iowa law requires nominees to be chosen “upon the basis of their qualifications and without regard to political affiliation.” The governor is required to pick the new justices from this slate.

Important Notice to Applicants: To be eligible for appointment to the court of appeals, a person must be a resident of the state, licensed to practice law in Iowa, and must be of such age that they will be able to serve an initial term (i.e., through December 31, 2012) and one regular term of office (six years or until December 31, 2018) before reaching the age of 72. To be most favorably considered for balloting, applicants for the recent vacancies on the supreme court must file a letter of intent with the secretary of the commission by April 25, 2011, and update their application materials by April 29, 2011. New applicants must file a letter of intent to file an application with the secretary of the commission by April 25, 2011, and must submit completed application forms to the commission on or before April 29, 2011.

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