Those who are challenging a new state law that restructures the state’s judicial nominating process got a setback today, according to the Sioux City Journal. The Iowa Supreme Court has refused to issue a temporary injunction in that lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new state law but has granted a motion for an expedited appeal.
The suit was brought by eight Democratic state legislators, Cedar Rapids lawyer Bob Rush and Judicial Nomination Commission member Martin Diaz of Swisher. The plaintiffs call the portion of SF 638 dealing with judicial nominating procedures a violation of the constitutional establishment of coequal branches of government because it changes the selection of and term for the court’s chief justice.
Before the legislative changes, half of the nominating commission’s members were selected by licensed lawyers and half were appointed by the governor, subject to approval by the Iowa Senate. The senior-most state Supreme Court justice who was not the chief justice served as the commission’s chair.
The Legislature directed the court to select a chief justice every two years. But the term and selection of the chief justice is a matter for the court, not lawmakers, to decide, according to Bob Rush.
The defendants, including Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, resisted the call for a temporary injunction. However, they joined the request for an expedited appeal.