February 13, 2019  Past Issues

Bill on nominating commission appointments headed to full Senate

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 9-5 Monday (Feb. 11) to approve the judicial nominating commissions bill, known as SF 237 JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSION. (See analysis of SF 237) The bill now heads to the floor of the Senate for discussion and action by all members. The House companion bill is being scheduled to be debated by the House Judiciary Committee today at 2 p.m.

The ISBA is registered as opposing this bill because it contains numerous provisions that would be a departure from the current system for populating the State and District Nominating Commissions. Some of the provisions would:
• Replace the eight elected lawyer members on the state judicial nominating commission and the five elected lawyer members on each of the fourteen judicial election commissions with appointments by the governor and the majority and minority legislative leaders. Each legislative leader would be allowed two gender-balanced appointments with at least one being an Iowa-licensed attorney. Currently all lawyer members of the commissions are elected by lawyers licensed in Iowa;
• Increase to five the number of candidates submitted to the governor for a court of appeals vacancy. Currently, the number of candidates submitted is three;
• Establish circumstances for the appointment of a new chair by the governor. Presently, the commission chairs are the chief judge in each district and the senior justice, who is not the chief justice, of the Iowa Supreme Court;
• Require the State Commission of Elections to notify the appropriate commission of a vacancy;
• Limit the term of the chief justice to two years.

Read the ISBA’s complete position here.

Deadline for ISBA member survey extended

In order to get as much feedback from members as possible, the deadline to fill out the 2019 ISBA Membership Survey has been extended to March 15. This survey was designed to help identify those services and benefits that represent the greatest value to you, the members.

The membership survey will remain open through March 15. To show appreciation for your participation in completing the survey and entering your contact information, you will automatically be entered into a drawing for prizes including an Amazon Echo Dot, a Google Home Mini or one of three Amazon gift cards. The drawing will take place on March 18, and winners will be notified.

Click here to take the survey.

Candidates sought for Court of Appeals vacancy

The State Judicial Nominating Commission is now accepting applications for the vacancy on the Iowa Court of Appeals that occurred when Chief Judge David R. Danilson retired on Jan. 4. The deadline for submitting applications is March 14.

The state commission, which is responsible for selecting nominees for appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court and the court of appeals, will meet March 28 and 29 to interview all applicants, regardless of whether they applied for a prior appellate judgeship. The commission has 60 days from Feb. 5 to submit a slate of nominees to the governor, who makes the appointment.

Application material can be obtained by contacting the secretary of the commission’s office at Any citizen may submit the names of persons for consideration as candidates by writing to the commission, or to any commissioner. A list of the nominating commission members as well as the requirements for applying can be found on the judicial nominating commissions website.


District judge seat opening in District 5C
As the result result of the retirement of the honorable Karen A. Romano, there will be a District Court judgeship vacancy in Election District 5C.

Judicial Application forms must be obtained from Jennifer Webster, Office of the District Court Administrator, Room 402, Polk County Courthouse, Des Moines. The deadline for filing a judicial application is March 20, at 4 p.m., and it must be received by the chairperson and the additional commissioners by that date and hour. Interviews will be held on March 28.

A District Court Judge of Judicial Election District 5C is a general jurisdiction trial judge presiding over civil law and equity, criminal and family court proceedings primarily in Polk County but also as assigned throughout the Fifth Judicial District of Iowa. View the full notice of vacancy here.

IRS offers webinars to help understand changes from tax reform legislation

The IRS has created a number of webinars to help tax professionals navigate the changes brought about by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was passed last December. Among the topics are tax reform basics for the Qualified Business Income Deduction (199A) and the due diligence requirements for tax preparers.

The webinars are approximately one-hour long and include a written narrative of the content in the videos. There are also PDF slides that provide a place to take notes while watching the videos.

Visit the IRS video portal on to access the webinars. Also, check out the professionals page that contains numerous resources for professional preparers.

Drake University hosting celebration of Tinker decision's 50th anniversary

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Tinker v. Des Moines, the landmark legal case that established the free speech rights of students in public schools, Drake University is hosting a conversation with the Tinkers on the values and challenges of freedom of expression Feb. 27.

The event will be at 7 p.m. in the Cowles Library Reading Room and is free and open to the public. For more information about this event, contact Kathleen Richardson, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, at or 515-271-2295.


No. 18-0464
Robert F. Colwell, Jr. v. Iowa Department of Human Services
An agency appeals an adverse judicial review decision by the district court.



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