UPDATES & ANALYSIS

5.18

Iowa Supreme Court denies further review in challenges to changes in judicial nominating process

by Rox Laird | May 18, 2020

Legal challenges to the Iowa Legislature’s 2019 changes in the nominating process for Iowa appellate judges have reached the end of the road. The Iowa Supreme Court on May 15 denied applications for further review of two Iowa Court of Appeals rulings dismissing the challenges by lawyers and state legislators.

Cedar Rapids attorney Bob Rush and other Iowa lawyers, legislators and one current and one former member of the State Judicial Nominating Commission filed suit claiming the Legislature violated the Iowa Constitution with legislation that altered the makeup of the commission that interviews applicants for the Iowa Supreme Court and the Iowa Court of Appeals, and sends nominations to the governor.

The Polk County District Court dismissed the Rush suit, saying none of the plaintiffs had standing to challenge the legislative act. A second suit asserting the same complaints but with a different plaintiff was subsequently filed, and allowed to go forward.

Both decisions were appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, which transferred them to the Court of Appeals. The appeals court upheld the District Court in two decisions [here and here] released in February, with the five-member panel divided 3-2.

Go to On Brief’s earlier analysis of the issues prior to the Court of Appeals oral argument.

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