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Iowa governor rejects judge nominees, citing tainted process

Reynolds said the commission's chairman acted inappropriately when it met to interview several candidates for a district judge vacancy.
Credit: AP
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa’s governor is taking the rare step of rejecting two nominees for an open judgeship, saying a judge who chaired the nominating commission tainted the process by favoring one candidate and opposing others.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a letter Thursday to the District 2b Judicial Nominating Commission that it's only the second time in Iowa history that a governor has taken such a step. 

She noted that she is normally required to appoint judges from the list of nominees submitted by the nominating commission within 30 days. 

But she said the commission’s chairman, Judge Kurt Stoebe, acted inappropriately on Oct. 12 when the commission met to interview several candidates for a district judge vacancy and recommended two nominees. 

She's ordered the commission to restart the process.

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