Governor Culver will not make any appointments to the Iowa Supreme Court. A schedule released Monday by the commission that will be presenting a list of nominees to the Governor’s office shows interviews of applicants will be conducted the week of January 24. That’s nearly two weeks after Republican Governor-elect Terry Branstad takes office.
State Court Administrator David Boyd, who also serves as secretary for the Judicial Nominating Commission, says the commission’s work will be more transparent than in past years. “We’re specifically looking at streaming the interviews on the internet,” Boyd said.
Commission member Guy Cook, a Des Moines attorney, says each candidate’s background will be public too. “The commission has decided to open that process more so that the applicants’ background, experience and qualifications are available for anyone to see,” Cook said. In the past, only candidates’ names and ages were publicized.
Cook believes the changes will boost public confidence. “Transparency is good and opening up this process will enhance our work and demonstrate that commission members carefully and thoughtfully look for the best candidates,” Cook said.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will select nominees to fill three vacancies on the Iowa Supreme Court. The new justices will replace those who were voted off the bench last month, a little over a year after they were part of a unanamous decision that paved the way for same-sex marriage.
Boyd, the commission secretary, says it’s not clear exactly when a list of nominees will be turned over to Branstad. “I suspect it will be sometime that week of January 24, but until we get to the close of applications and know how many applicants we have, it’s difficult to say the specific date that the commission will vote,” Boyd said.
The commission will accept applications through January 14. That’s the same day Governor-elect Branstad will take office.