Please tell lawmakers to stop politicizing our courts and ensure the checks and balances of three strong, independent branches of government remain intact.
The Senate has passed SF237 and the House bill, HF503, is making its way through the legislative process. This legislation would greatly harm the well-tested and non-partisan process of choosing Iowa’s judges and justices. Iowa’s current model of merit selection is nationally recognized across the country for keeping our courts as free from partisan politics as possible.
Iowans understand this legislation is a power grab and is intended to advance a specific political agenda, placing our courts in harms way simply because one small group in our state is frustrated with a handful of court decisions. That is simply wrong and it is bad public policy.
Please speak out and tell these lawmakers you expect them to protect Iowa’s fair and impartial courts.
Iowa justices and judges are committed to upholding our state’s constitution and serving its citizens with equal consideration under the law. For over 50 years, Iowans have been privileged with a process designed to limit the influence of special interest groups and politics as much as possible. Iowans value our judiciary and understand that, in order to have their own fair day in court, we must ensure the process of choosing our justices and judges remains non-partisan.
A key piece of the merit selection process is the judicial nominating commissions, which serve separately at the district and state levels. Everyday citizens, both lawyers and non-lawyers, are chosen to serve on the nominating commissions. The court provides a process for lawyers to elect the lawyers in their district and at the state level. The governor chooses the commissioners who are not lawyers at both levels. Each commission screens and recommends to the governor for her or his final selection judicial candidates for judicial seats.
The proposed legislation will insert politics directly into the process that is specifically intended to be non-partisan. The bill designates a small group of partisan lawmakers with the sole power to choose who is on the nominating commissions. This is a power grab at the most extreme level by some in the legislature and will cause great harm to our independent judiciary.