Bill would give politicians more control over picking judges

February 4, 2019 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill that would dramatically change the way Iowa selects judges for the Iowa Supreme Court and the district court level has been introduced in the Iowa House.

The bill would end appointments by attorneys to judicial nominating commissions and gives the power solely to the governor and legislative leaders.

The bill immediately drew criticism Monday from Democrats, who argue Republicans support the change because they are unhappy with court decisions on gay marriage and abortion. Democrats say such a change would favor political appointees and donors.


Republican leaders say the current system gives a small group of lawyers too much power.

The proposal allows the governor to continue to appoint half the commissioners to the panel but instead of lawyers, Republican and Democratic legislative leaders would appoint the other half.

Under the current political divide, Republicans would appoint 12 out of 16 state commissioners and Democrats would appoint four.

A spokesman for Gov. Kim Reynolds says she supports the bill.