Process to fill a vacancy on the Iowa Supreme Court
Article V, Section 16 of the Iowa Constitution establishes Judicial Nominating Commissions to select nominees from a pool of applicants to fill judicial vacancies. Nominees are selected based on merit and their names are forwarded to the governor. Iowa began using the “Merit Selection” process after voters approved an amendment to the Iowa Constitution.
The State Judicial Nominating Commission interviews applicants and selects nominees for appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court. This commission is composed of a chair, eight commissioners elected by Iowa lawyers (two from each congressional district), and eight commissioners appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Iowa Senate (two from each congressional district). The chair is the senior justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, other than the chief justice. All commissioners, but the chair, serve for a term of six years.
The secretary of state will notify the nominating commission chair of a vacancy on the supreme court. Within 10 days of receiving a vacancy notice, the chair will call an initial commission meeting and determine the timelines and procedures for accepting applications.
Within 60 days of receiving a notice of a judicial vacancy on the supreme court from the secretary of state, the commission must submit the names of three nominees to the governor. The governor has 30 days to fill the vacancy from the list of nominees submitted by the commission.
State Nominating Commission members:
Chair: Honorable David Wiggins, Justice, Iowa Supreme Court
Secretary: Todd Nuccio, State Court Administrator
Elected Lawyer Members
1 Henry Bevel, Waterloo 6-30-23
1 Christine Conover, Cedar Rapids 6-30-21
2 Martin Diaz, Iowa City 6-30-19
2 Dorothy O’Brien, Davenport 6-30-23
3 Jeff Goodman, West Des Moines 6-30-21
3 Connie Diekema, Des Moines 6-30-19
4 Suzan Boden, Sioux City 6-30-19
4 John Gray, Sioux City 6-30-23
1 Kathy Pearson, Cedar Rapids 4-30-24
1 Lance J. Horbach, Tama 4-30-20
2 Steve Berger, Wellman 4-30-20
2 Helen Sinclair, Melrose 4-30-22
3 John Bloom, West Des Moines 4-30-24
3 Christina Taylor, West Des Moines 4-30-22
4 Steve Sukup, Clear Lake 4-30-22
4 Patricia “Trish” Roberts, Carroll 4-30-20