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Second lawsuit challenges system for choosing judges

DES MOINES — Another lawsuit challenging the updated process for selecting Iowa Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges was heard in Polk County District Court Friday.

A judge dismissed the first lawsuit that claimed Republican lawmakers violated the constitution when they gave the governor an additional appointment to the panel that nominates high court judges. That judge said lawyers and Democratic lawmakers didn’t prove they’re adversely affected by the change.

Attorney Bob Rush says the second lawsuit directly involves Thomas Duff  — who applied to be an appeals court judge — but wasn’t choose him as a nominee.

“His injury is real. It is not an injury in general to the rest of the Iowa population, it’s very unique to him as an individual now and in the future,” Duff says.

Assistant Attorney General David Rantsch argued  that doesn’t prove Duff is adversely affected by the law. “Voiding the law doesn’t make Mr. Duff a judge. Restoring the commission doesn’t make Mr. Duff a nominee. Restoring the commission doesn’t make Mr. Duff a judge,” Rantsch says.

The state is asking the Polk County judge to also dismiss this second lawsuit. The original legal challenge of the new law is expected to be heard by the Court of Appeals next month.



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