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Judicial Nominating Commission begins process for selecting nominees for Supreme Court vacancy

January 21, 2020

The State Judicial Nominating Commission, which is responsible for selecting nominees for appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court, announced today it will begin accepting applications for the vacancy on the court that will occur when Acting Chief Justice David Wiggins retires on March 13, 2020. The Commission received notice of the vacancy from Governor Reynolds on January 14, 2020.  The Commission has sixty days to send a slate of nominees to the Governor, who makes appointments to the court.  

The deadline for applications to be received by the Commission and the Commissioners to be considered for balloting is 11:59 p.m. on February 21, 2020. Any citizen may submit in writing to the Secretary of the Commission, or to any Commissioner via email at the email addresses listed on the State Judicial Nominating Commission website at and also listed below, the names of persons for consideration as a candidate for nomination and express views concerning such candidate.  For comments regarding an applicant to be considered by the Commission, communications from the public must be received by the Commissioners via email by 11:59 P.M. on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.  Comments regarding an applicant made for previous vacancies will not be considered by the Commission, except for comments made and provided to the Commission for applicants that applied for the vacancy created upon the death of Chief Justice Cady who also apply for this vacancy.  Applications can be obtained on the State Judicial Nominating Commission website at the website address listed above or from the State Court Administrator at 1111 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319. The State and District Judicial Nominating Commissions Uniform Rules of Procedure adopted by the State Judicial Nominating Commission and dated October 31, 2019 are available at

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 Commission and Iowa's merit selection process will be available on the Iowa Judicial Branch website:

The Commission plans to meet Friday, March 6, 2020, to interview applicants and select three nominees to submit to the Governor for appointment. The meeting will be in the Supreme Court Courtroom in the Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines. The interview portion of the meeting is open to the public and will be streamed live and archived on the Iowa Judicial Branch YouTube channel, .

The 17-member Commission is composed of eight commissioners elected by lawyers licensed to practice law in Iowa and nine commissioners appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Iowa Senate.

Important Notice to Applicants: To be eligible for appointment to the court, a person must be a resident of Iowa, licensed to practice law in Iowa, and must be of such age that he or she will be able to serve an initial and one regular term of office before reaching the age of 72.  The first regular eight-year term of office for this opening commences January 1, 2023, assuming the appointee is retained on the 2022 retention ballot. To be considered for balloting, an applicant must email his or her application and supporting materials to the Commission via email to and to each member of the Commission at the email addresses listed below so that the application and supporting materials are received by the Commission and Commissioners by 11:59 P.M. on Friday, February 21, 2020. The candidates for nomination must email to the Commission and all Commissioners a single PDF version of the completed Joint Judicial Application that includes all attachments thereto, a single PDF version of the Judicial Background Application that includes all attachments thereto, and a single PDF version of any writing samples.   

The names and email addresses of the State Judicial Nominating Commission members are:


Trish Roberts, Carroll, Iowa;


Kathleen Law, Des Moines, Iowa;


Steve Berger


Henry Bevel


John Bloom


Christine Conover


Jeff Goodman 


John Gray


Lance Horbach


Dan Huitink


Kathleen Law


Dorothy O’Brien


Kathy Pearson

(c) 319-350-4604

Trish Roberts

(c) 712-830-9912

Helen Sinclair


Leon Spies


Kristina Stanger


Steve Sukup

(c) 515-238-6563; (w) 641-892-4222

Janece M. Valentine


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