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

Des Moines, July 5, 2013 – 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 to fill the vacancy that will occur when Court of Appeals Chief Judge Larry J. Eisenhauer retires September 30, 2013.

The Commission has sixty days to send a list of three nominees to the Governor, who makes appointments to the court.

The deadline for applications is August 12, 2013. 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 has set aside August 21 and 22, 2013, to interview applicants. Balloting to select a slate of three nominees will take place on August 22, 2013. The interviews will be held in the Supreme Court courtroom and will be open to the public. The interviews will also be streamed live on the Internet.

The 17-member commission is composed of a chair, who is the senior justice of the supreme court other than the chief justice, eight lawyer commissioners elected by lawyers licensed to practice law in Iowa and eight 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 puts 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 judge from this slate.

Important Notice to Applicants: To be eligible for appointment to the court of appeals, applicants 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, 2014) and one regular term of office (six years or until December 31, 2020) before reaching the age of 72. To be most favorably considered for balloting, applicants for the vacancy on the court of appeals created when Chief Judge Eisenhauer retires must file a letter of intent with the secretary of the commission by August 8, 2013, and must submit completed application forms to the commission on or before August 12, 2013.

The names and addresses of the commission members and secretary are:

Chair
Justice David Wiggins
1111 East Court Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50319

Lawyer Members
Henry Bevel
327 East 4th Street, Ste. 300
Waterloo, IA 50704

Suzan Boden
P.O. Box 1557
Sioux City, IA 51102-1557

Christine Conover
115 Third Street SE, Ste. 1200
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
cconover@simmonsperrine.com

Martin Diaz
528 South Clinton Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

Connie Diekema
699 Walnut Street, Ste. 1900
Des Moines, IA 50309

Jeff Goodman
1501 42nd Street, Ste. 300
West Des Moines, IA 50266

John Gray
1128 Historic 4th Street
Sioux City, IA 51102-1557

Dorothy O’Brien
2322 East Kimberly Road, Ste. 100E
Davenport, IA 52807

Appointed Members
Scott Bailey
1956 Clemens Street
Otley, IA 50214-8560

John Bloom
4820 Elm Street
West Des Moines, IA 50265-2995

Elizabeth Doll
77 Pelican Drive
Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Kathy Pearson
150 Thompson Drive SE, #120
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403-1740

Patricia “Trish” Roberts
732 San Salvador Avenue
Carroll, IA 51401

Helen Sinclair
2208 560th Avenue
Melrose, IA 52569-8502

Steve Sukup
1405 North Shore Drive
Clear Lake, IA 50428-1237

Jerry Welter
102 Jayne Drive
Monticello, IA 52310-1819

Secretary of the Commission
David K. Boyd
State Court Administrator
1111 E. Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
(515) 281-5241

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