The commission that will select the nine nominees for the three vacancies on the Iowa Supreme Court began public interviews today with the candidates who have applied for the job. Drake University law professor, David Walker, says the commission will use these interviews to look at how the candidates handle themselves in interactions with others. He describes what he would look for.

Walker says they will look for a degree of confidence as a judge has to have the courage to stand alone and apply the law to the evidence as you see it. He says you have to have a disposition to listen to other people with an open mind with the willingness hear the full force of the other side. Walker says the judicial nominating commission has lots of information on the candidates’ legal qualifications, and the interviews help show how their temperament will allow them to use that legal knowledge.

He says they will be looking for people who’re confident, forthright and demonstrate that they have experience in the law and can respond to any of the questions asked, making the interviews important. While their legal background and ability is important, Walker says one other key the commission will likely look at is the candidate’s administrative skills.

Walker says the judicial department has 17 to 18-hundred employees spread across 99 counties, so he would be looking for a candidate that has administrative and budgeting skills too. The 15 member commission is interviewing the 60 candidates over the next four days. The finalists will be forwarded to Governor Terry Branstad who will select the three who’ll fill the open seats on the court. The process is open to the public.

You can see the interview schedule here via the court system website: www.iowacourts.gov/wfData/files/StateJudNomComm/Interviewschedule.pdf

You can also find a link to listen to the interviews live on the court system website: www.iowacourts.gov.