News Center

January 12th, 2011

Judicial Nominating Process Begins with 61 Applicants

The process to fill the three vacancies on the Iowa Supreme Court has begun.  Sixty-one individuals have submitted their resumes for consideration to fill one of the three spots on the bench that are open following November’s retention election.

The list of applicants consists of 30 Democrats, 28 Republicans, and 3 people who have no party affiliation. The list contains two prominent Republicans, Matt Whitaker and Matt Dummermuth, two former U.S. District Attorneys.  Dummermuth also considered running for Attorney General in 2010 but ultimately decided against it.

The list also includes the wife of State Auditor Dave Vaudt, Jeanie Kunkle Vaudt, who currently serves as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Iowa.  Another noteworthy applicant is Rep. Richard Anderson, a Republican legislator from Clarinda who is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Fourteen lower court judges have also applied.  The nominating committee has typically favored the candidates who already have judicial experience when vacancies on the Supreme Court arise.  Justices Cady and Hecht both were both appeals judges before being put on the high court.  Former Justice Streit was also an appellate court judge, and Former Justice Baker was a first a district court, then an appellate court judge before holding his position on the Iowa Supreme Court.

Now that the list of applicants has been made public, Iowans can begin the process of vetting the candidates for themselves.  One candidate, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, a law professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, was a vocal supporter of gay marriage before the Court issued its decision in the Varnum case.

The Des Moines Register reported that Onwuachi-Willig signed a court brief supporting gay marriage rights in an article from 2008.  She told the Register, “This is the heartland of America — a place where family values are revered.  It would be an incredibly strong signal for the Iowa Supreme Court to find that same-sex marriages are legal.”

Advancing Onwuachi-Willig in the selection process would likely create a firestorm from many Iowa conservatives.  Placing someone who championed gay marriage rights under consideration would be seen as a slap in the face following November’s retention election.  Her public statements regarding the issue of gay marriage cast doubt on her ability the be objective should this issue reach the court again.

The nominating committee will begin to formally interview the applicants on January 24th.  Following the interviews, the committee will then pare the list to nine candidates from which Governor Branstad will make his selection.  Below is the list of applicants.  TheIowaRepublican.com will continue to investigate and report on the candidates throughout the selection process.

Craig Ament – 55
Registered Republican
Cedar Falls
Ament Law Firm
J.D., 1980, University of Iowa

Richard Anderson – 54
Registered Republican
Clarinda
State Representative
Millhone & Anderson, P.C.
J.D., 1987, Drake University

Samuel Anderson – 51
Registered Democrat
Waterloo
Swisher & Cohrt, P. L. C.
J.D., 1984, Drake University

Joseph Barron – 47
Registered Democrat
Des Moines
Peddicord, Wharton, Spencer, Hook, Barron & Wegman, LLP
J.D., 1988, University of Iowa

John Bernau – 48
Registered Republican
Manchester
Delaware County Attorney
J.D., 1990, University of Iowa

Richard Blane – 61
Registered Republican
West Des Moines
District Judge – Fifth Judicial District
J.D., 1973, Drake University

Robert Blink – 60
Registered Republican
West Des Moines
District Judge – Fifth Judicial District
J.D., 1975, Drake University

Ted Breckenfelder – 49
Registered Republican
Bettendorf
Breckenfelder Law Firm
J.D., 1986, Drake University

James Bruhn – 55
Registered Republican
Clinton
Farwell & Bruhn
J.D., 1980, University of Iowa

Inga Bumbary-Langston – 54
Registered Democrat
Des Moines
U.S. Department of Agriculture Civil Rights Litigation Division
J.D., 1981, University of Virginia

Nathan Callahan – 58
Registered Democrat
Cedar Falls
District Associate Judge – First District;
J.D., 1984, Northwestern School of Law

Mark Cleve – 55
Registered Republican
Davenport
District Judge – Seventh Judicial District
J.D., 1981, University of Iowa

James Daane – 50
Registered Republican
Sioux City
Buckmeier & Daane Lawyers, P.C.
J.D., 1985, University of South Dakota

George Davison, Jr. – 60
Registered Republican
Des Moines
Davison Law
J.D., 1979, Drake University

Diane Dornburg – 59
Registered Democrat
Urbandale
Carney and Appleby, PLC
J.D., 1976, University of Michigan

Thomas Duff – 47
Registered Democrat
Des Moines
Duff Law Firm, P.L.C.
J.D., 1988, Drake University

Matt Dummermuth – 37
Registered Republican
Robins
Former U.S. Attorney for Northern District
Considered running for Attorney General
J.D., 1999, Harvard University

Timothy Finn – 62
Registered Republican
Ames
District Judge – Second Judicial District
J.D., 1974, University of Iowa

Jerry Foxhoven – 58
Registered Democrat
Clive
Drake Legal Clinic
J.D., 1977, Drake University

Arthur Gamble – 58
Registered Democrat
Clive
District Judge – Fifth Judicial District
J.D., 1978, University of Iowa

Patrick Grady
Registered Democrat
Cedar Rapids
District Judge – Sixth Judicial District
J.D., 1979, University of Iowa

John Gray – 56
Registered Democrat
Sioux City
Heidman Law Firm
J.D., 1981, University of Iowa

Joel Greer – 57
Registered Democrat
Marshalltown
Cartwright, Druker & Ryden
J.D., 1978, University of Iowa

David Hanson – 49
Registered Republican
Fayette
Hoffmeyer & Hanson PC
J.D., 1987, Drake University

Peter Hart – 58
Registered Democrat
Emmetsburg
Palo Alto County Attorney
J.D., 1979, DePaul University

Andrew Howie – 39
Registered Democrat
West Des Moines
Hudson, Mallaney & Shindler, P.C.
J.D., 1996, University of Iowa.

Michael Keller – 50
Registered Democrat
Des Moines
Schott Mauss & Associates, P.C.
J.D., 1987, University of Virginia

Bruce Kempkes – 55
Registered Democrat
Earlham
Assistant Attorney General
J.D., 1980, University of Iowa

Gary Kendell – 39
Registered Democrat
Des Moines
Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy
J.D., 1996, Drake University

Lawrence Kudej – 61
Registered Republican
Swisher
Assistant United States Attorney
J.D., 1974, University of Iowa

Justin LaVan – 38
Registered Republican
Earlham
Beving, Swanson & Forrest, P.C.
J.D., 1998, Drake University

Steven Lawyer – 45
Registered Republican
New Virginia
Steven V. Lawyer & Associates
J.D., 1991, Drake University

David Leitner – 54
Registered Democrat
Johnston
Leitner Law Office
J.D., 1979, University of Iowa

Edward Mansfield – 53
Registered Republican
Des Moines
Iowa Court of Appeals Judge
J.D., 1982, Yale University

Stephen Marso – 37
Registered Republican
Ankeny
Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C.
J.D., 1999, University of Iowa

Don McGuire Jr. – 52
Registered Republican
Algona
Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company
J.D., 1993, University of Indiana

Gary McKenrick – 54
Registered Democrat
Low Moor
District Judge – Seventh Judicial District
J.D., 1982, University of Iowa

James Moriarty – 55
Registered Democrat
Cedar Rapids
James P. Moriarty, PC
J.D., 1982, Suffolk University

Marlon Mormann – 54
Registered Republican
Des Moines
Unemployment Insurance Appeals Bureau
J.D., 1983, University of Nebraska

Michael Mullins – 58
Registered Republican
Washington
District Judge – Eighth Judicial District
J.D., 1982, Drake University

Marti Nerenstone – 55
Registered Democrat
Council Bluffs
Nerenstone Law Office
J.D., 1982, University of Iowa

Craig Nierman – 43
Registered Republican
Coralville
Nierman Law, P.L.C.
J.D., 1999, University of Iowa

Matthew Noel – 34
Unidentified Registration
Dubuque
Blair & Fitzsimmons P.C.
J.D., 2008, John Marshall Law School

Angela Onwuachi-Willig – 37
Registered Democrat
Grinnell
Professor, University of Iowa
J.D., 1997, University of Michigan

Suellen Overton – 48
Registered Democrat
Council Bluffs
Overton Law Office;
J.D., 1990, Drake University.

Rebecca Parrish-Sams – 39
Registered Democrat
Cumming
Soldat & Parrish-Sams, PLC
J.D., 1998, University of Iowa

Iris Post – 54
Registered Democrat
Des Moines
Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C.
J.D., 1980, University of Iowa

Elisabeth Reynoldson – 43
Unidentified Registration
Osceola
Assistant Attorney General
J.D., 1992, University of Iowa

Allan Richards – 56
Registered Democrat
Tama
Richards Law Firm;
J. D., 1989, Whittier College

Annette Scieszinski – 55
Registered Republican
Albia
District Judge – Eighth Judicial District
J.D., 1980, University of Iowa

James Scott – 58
Registered Democrat
Rock Valley
District Judge – Third Judicial District
J.D.,1976, University of South Dakota

William Serangeli – 61
Registered Democrat
West Des Moines
Schneider, Stiles, Serangeli & Mountsier, P.C.,
J.D., 1975, Drake University

Douglas Staskal – 56
Registered Democrat
West Des Moines
District Judge – Fifth Judicial District
J.D., 1979, University of Iowa

William Talbot – 59
Registered Republican
Ames
Newbrough Law Firm LLP
J.D., 1989, Drake University

Frank Tenuta – 51
Registered Democrat
Sioux City
Iowa Legal Aid
J.D., 1985, University of Minnesota

Richard Vander Mey – 61
Voter registration information not available
Traer
Magistrate
J.D., 1974, University of Minnesota

Jeanie Vaudt – 56
Registered Republican
West Des Moines
Assistant Attorney General
J.D., 1991, Drake University

Thomas Waterman – 51
Registered Republican
Pleasant Valley
Lane & Waterman L.L.P.
J.D., 1984, University of Iowa

Matt Whitaker – 41
Registered Republican
Urbandale
Whitaker Hagenow GBMG
J.D., 1995, University of Iowa

ConGarry Williams – 44
Registered Democrat
West Des Moines
Assistant Public Defender
J.D., 2000, Drake University

Bruce Zager – 58
Registered Republian
Waterloo
District Judge – First Judicial District
J.D., 1980, Drake University

Enhanced by Zemanta

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




blog comments powered by Disqus