Four people have filed a federal lawsuit saying the process used to nominate judges in Iowa violates their constitutional rights. The commission selects the nominees that are submitted to the governor who then has to select a nominee to become a judge from that list. The commission will soon be selecting three nominees to fill the open spots on the Iowa Supreme Court after three justices were voted off the bench in November.
The lawsuit says the commission includes seven lawyers who are elected by other attorneys in the Iowa Bar Association and denies the four who are not attorneys any say in the selection process. The four say this violates their constitutional equal-protection rights as it gives “significant power and function” to seven members of the commission.
The 15-member commission also includes seven people who are not lawyers who are chosen by the governor and confirmed by the legislature, and the senior justice on the Supreme Court. The lawsuit was filed by Steve Carlson of Woodbury County, Mary Granzow of Polk County, Richard Kettells of Pleasant Hill, and William Ramsey of Black Hawk County.
The lawsuit names all 15 members of the Judicial Nominating Commission and court administrator, David Boyd, as defendants.