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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

3 finalists picked for vacant seat on Iowa Supreme Court

DES MOINES — The State Judicial Nominating Commission has selected three nominees that will be sent to Gov. Kim Reynolds for an open associate spot on the Iowa ...

DES MOINES — The State Judicial Nominating Commission has selected three nominees that will be sent to Gov. Kim Reynolds for an open associate spot on the Iowa Supreme Court.

The governor has 30 days to appoint a new justice.

Thursday was interview day for 12 applicants who are looking to fill a seat on the Iowa Supreme Court.

Justice David Wiggins was named Acting Chief Justice following Chief Justice Mark Cady’s death last year.

Joel Barrows of Bettendorf, Matt McDermott of Des Moines and Dana Oxley of Cedar Rapids were selected as finalists for the position.

Picking an associate justice comes after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law that changes how judicial selection works.

The Iowa Judicial Nominating Commission, which is tasked with interviewing applicants and selecting nominees for appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, lays out its procedures for selection.

Once the commission screens and interviews applicants, it forwards a slate of nominees, usually to the governor, who makes a final appointment.

The associate justices will choose the next chief justice.

Iowa’s system for selecting judges was established in 1962 through a constitutional amendment.

Currently, the governor controls the majority of the 17-member panel that nominates potential Iowa Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges.

The new makeup of the commission is nine appointments by the governor, subject to Senate confirmation, and eight attorneys elected by other attorneys.

The new law signed by Gov. Reynolds, among other things, shortens the term of a chief justice from eight years to two years, and it lowers the signature threshold for attorneys to get on the ballot to be elected to the nominating commission.