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EDITORIAL: A clear case for confirmation for Rose

Editor’s note: Stephanie Rose is a 1991 graduate of Mason CIty High School – 

CR Gazette Editorial Board –

What should Iowans expect of someone who has been nominated to be the next federal judge in Iowa’s Southern District?

Beyond routine requirements of education and relevant courtroom experience, one word comes to mind: fairness. And “fairness” is how many judges, fellow prosecutors and defense attorneys who have been her courtroom adversaries consistently described Stephanie Rose to The Gazette.

Rose, 39, of Center Point, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next federal judge in Iowa’s Southern District. She has worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office since completing law school at the University of Iowa in 1996. She was named top prosecutor for the Cedar Rapids-based Northern District of Iowa in 2009 after prosecuting more than 800 felony cases, leading the prosecution on 260 of those cases.

Even at a relatively young age for the bench, Rose has solid credentials, as well as support from so many who have observed her work.

“Very skilled,” said U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett, who presided over Rose’s first jury trial. “ … She doesn’t have a personal agenda. She goes by the law.”

“Stephanie has won the respect of prosecutors and defense lawyers,” added U.S. District Judge John Jarvey.

A group of defense attorneys is backing Rose’s nomination, noting how fair and diligent in following the law she’s been in difficult, controversial cases, including the prosecution of more illegal immigrants in the 2008 Agriprocessors raid in Postville.

“She’s not politically connected, not active in a party … this is based on merit,” said Steve Swift, one of those defense attorneys.

Another, Leon Spies, told The Gazette that for Rose, it’s more important to “get it right than to win.”

Rose is one of only 250 Iowa lawyers, just 15 of them women, who are members of the Academy of Trial Lawyers, an organization that seek the “highest quality of trial advocacy and ethical responsibilities to clients and the laws.”

The Senate must decide on the nomination of Rose, along with 21 other federal judge nominees across the country. But even with her credentials and previous confirmation as federal prosecutor, a swift decision on Rose’s nomination is not a lock. Politics during a presidential election year could hold up the process, even beyond July 1 when Judge Robert Pratt retires from the Southern District of Iowa bench.

Excessive political fighting too often clouds judicial nominations. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen to Rose. Fairness dictates she be confirmed.

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