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Governor appoints lawyer with GOP ties to Iowa Supreme Court

April 3, 2020 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s Republican governor on Friday appointed a West Des Moines lawyer with longtime ties to the state GOP as the newest Iowa Supreme Court justice.

Gov. Kim Reynolds named Matthew McDermott to fill the vacancy left when former Justice David Wiggins, a Democratic appointee, retired last month. McDermott is Reynolds’ fourth appointment to the state Supreme Court.

McDermott served as the lawyer for the state in a contentious lawsuit filed by a labor union challenging a 2017 Republican-backed law that made sweeping changes to Iowa’s public employee collective bargaining statute. McDermott’s team won the lawsuit and a subsequent appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court, which ruled the law change was constitutional. McDermott was also a lawyer for the Republican Party of Iowa from 2007–2012.

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Reynolds selected McDermott from three finalists sent to her by the State Judicial Nominating Commission. The other two finalists were Mary Chicchelly, a district court judge from Cedar Rapids, and David May, an appeals court judge from Polk City.

McDermott currently practices law with Belin McCormick in Des Moines and serves as president of the Board of Directors of Iowa Legal Aid.