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Gov. Reynolds releases statement on Senate vote to pass Judicial Nominating Reform

This news story was published on March 13, 2019.
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DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds released the following statement after the Senate voted to pass S.F. 237, reforming Iowa’s judicial nominating system:

“Today’s vote by the Iowa State Senate to reform our judicial nominating system is a step forward to creating a judicial-nominating process that better reflects our state and its people. While the current process was created with good intentions, it’s now filled with backroom politics that leaves the vast majority of Iowans in the dark. Our new system will allow the people of Iowa to have a greater voice in selecting judges while also keeping in place the best parts of our judicial selection process.”

Currently, Iowa justices and judges are selected using the merit selection. Under the merit system, as described by, a commission composed of nonpartisan Iowans makes a study of the credentials of the individuals who are nominated for judicial office. The commission then nominates the individuals whom it finds best qualified and sends their names to the governor for final selection.

For supreme court justices and court of appeals judges, the state judicial nominating commission nominates three individuals. For district judges, district nominating commissions nominate two individuals. Merit selection was part of an Amendment to the Iowa Constitution in 1962. In Iowa, all judicial nominees must be a licensed Iowa attorney.

Benefits of the Merit Selection and Retention Elections, says, are:

– Curbs the influence of political parties and special interest groups in the selection of Iowa’s judges.

– Emphasizes the selection of judges based upon their professional qualifications.

– Gives voters the final say about who serves as a judge.

– Is the most effective way to ensure fair and impartial courts.

Opponents of the proposed new system of selecting judges say that power will be centralized in Des Moines and placed with partisan politicians and erode local control over the process. The House is looking at a similar bill.

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One Response to Gov. Reynolds releases statement on Senate vote to pass Judicial Nominating Reform

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    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 13, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Back room politics will occur if this bill passes; the proverbial smoke-filled back room with the “good ole boys”. None of our present justices or judges have “passed” laws or “legislated” from the bench. They simply determine whether a bill passed by the legislature violates the Iowa (and sometimes) U. S. Constitutions. If you disagree with the decision(s) they are mislabeled as “activist” judges. I have never asked or considered a person’s political preferences when trying to determine whether he/she will be a good judge, I am more concerned with their experience, intelligence and demeanor.