Letter to the Editor: Let’s keep politics out of the courts

To the Editor:

There is a bill in the Iowa House, HSB110, that would alter how our judges are selected in Iowa by allowing the governor to make appointments to the State Judicial Commission, without approval of the Senate, and will ultimately make this a partisan-based system going forward.

Currently, Iowa justices and judges are selected using a merit-based system. A commission composed of nonpartisan Iowans reviews the credentials of individual lawyers who are nominated for judicial office. This commission then nominates the individuals whom it finds best qualified and sends their names to the governor for final selection.

Governor Kim Reynolds has only appointed Republicans to the state and district commissions. Of the 68 appointments made by the Governor, 65 are held by Republicans and three are held by no parties.

For Iowa 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.

According to the Iowa Judicial Branch, Iowa’s method of nonpartisan, merit-based selection of judges is intended to limit the influence of special interest groups and political parties in the selection of Iowa’s judges.

If you believe our court systems need to be fair and unbiased without political party influence, then I ask you to call on our state lawmaker to oppose this bill which does not actually serve Iowans’ best interests. Contact Anne Osmundson at 515-281-3221 or Anne.Osmundson@legis.iowa.gov.

Respectfully,
Lori R. Egan
Waukon

 

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