For the second time in three years, Governor Kim Reynolds refused to act on a slate of nominees approved by one of Iowa’s regional judicial nominating commissions.
In early November, Reynolds took the “extraordinary step” of returning one candidate to the District 2B Judicial Nominating Commission. She eventually appointed Ashley Sparks to fill the District Court vacancy, but only after the commission held an additional meeting (at the governor’s request) to nominate a second eligible candidate for the judgeship.
The sequence of events raises questions about the governor’s legal authority to intervene when a judicial nominating commission has not adequately discharged its duties.
The situation also raises broader questions about the District 2B Judicial Nominating Commission. In November 2021, Reynolds refused to fill a vacancy in the same district after determining a judge’s “unprofessional” conduct had tainted the selection process. Since then, the District 2B commission—unlike all of its counterparts around the state—has not followed statutory and constitutional provisions that call for the senior judge of a district to chair such bodies.Continue Reading...