Iowa justice declines action on disputed judge appointment

October 10, 2018 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court says a disputed appointment of a district court judge by Gov. Kim Reynolds in June will stand unless the courts determine otherwise.

Justice Mark Cady says in a statement released Wednesday he has no constitutional authority to confirm or ratify the governor’s appointment of Judge Jason Besler.

The Iowa Constitution requires the governor to appoint a judge within 30 days of being presented a list of finalists.

Reynolds says she appointed Besler in June within the deadline by verbally telling her chief of staff her choice. There is no documented proof she met the deadline.


Lawyer Gary Dickey is challenging the appointment saying litigants appearing before Besler could challenge his legal status as a sitting judge.

Cady says the governor’s word that the appointment was timely deserves respect unless resolved differently through the legal process.

Cady acknowledges it’s a difficult situation with no simple solution. He plans on monitoring it “to protect the judicial process and all its judges.”