Senate OKs Bill Expanding Lawmakers’ Role In Judge Selection

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that would change how judges are chosen to give politicians greater control and minimize the influence of attorneys.

The bill approved Tuesday would allow legislative leaders rather than lawyers to select attorneys for the commission that nominates judges for the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. The governor, who also appoints members to the commission, chooses judges from among the finalists provided by the panel.

Democrats accused Republicans of attempting to stack the courts in their favor because they disagree with court rulings that overturned laws on same-sex marriage and abortion.

The bill now goes to the Iowa House.

Gov. Kim Reynolds says the Senate vote is a step forward to creating a process “that better reflects our state and its people.”

Iowa created the current system in 1962, when voters amended the state constitution.