Two judges appointed to Iowa Court of Appeals by Governor Reynolds

By: Rox Laird on May 2nd, 2019

Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed Marshalltown attorney Sharon Soorholtz Greer and Polk County District Judge David May to the Iowa Court of Appeals May 29.

They replace former Chief Judge David Danilson, who retired in January, and Judge Christopher McDonald, who was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in February.

May, 47, of Polk City, currently serves as a District Court judge in the Fifth Judicial District. He attended Northeast Missouri State University (since renamed Truman State University) and graduated from the University of Missouri. He earned his law degree from Drake Law School in 1998. Prior to his appointment to the District Court in 2016, May was a shareholder in the Bradshaw Fowler law firm in Des Moines.


Christopher McDonald elevated to the Iowa Supreme Court by Governor Reynolds

By: Rox Laird on February 21st, 2019

The Iowa Supreme Court will have a full complement of seven justices when Christopher McDonald is sworn in. McDonald, 44, was appointed by Gov. Kim Reynolds this week, replacing Justice Daryl Hecht, who retired last year as he battles melanoma.

Reynolds’ second appointee, after naming Susan Christensen last August, brings to the Court the perspective of a Vietnamese-American, a practicing lawyer, and a trial and appellate judge.

McDonald has served on the Iowa Court of Appeals since 2013. He is a graduate of Grand View University and the University of Iowa Law School. He clerked for Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Hansen, and practiced law at the Des Moines law firms of Faegre Baker Daniels and Belin McCormick. He was senior counsel for litigation at Aviva before being appointed to the Fifth Judicial District Court by former Gov. Terry Branstad.


U.S. Senate confirms Iowa native for seat on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

By: Rox Laird on December 17th, 2018

President Donald Trump’s appointment of Sioux City native Jonathan Kobes to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Dec. 11. The vote was split 50-50 with Vice President Mike Pence supplying the tie-breaking vote.

Kobes will replace Judge Roger Wollman, who has taken senior status. Wollman, who was appointed to the Eighth Circuit in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan, turned 84 this year.

Kobes, 44, graduated from Dordt College in Sioux Center in 1996, Harvard Law School in 2000 and clerked for Judge Wollman after graduation.

Kobes has had a varied legal career: He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota and the Sioux Falls office of Murphy, Goldammer and Prendergast where he was a litigation associate.


Court of Appeals Chief Judge Danilson to retire in January

By: Rox Laird on November 14th, 2018

David Danilson, chief judge of the Iowa Court of Appeals, has announced his retirement effective Jan. 4, 2019. Danilson said he hopes to continue to serve as a senior judge on the appeals court after retiring, according to a press release from the Iowa Judicial Branch.

Danilson has served the Iowa judiciary for more than 30 years. Before joining the appeals court, Danilson was a judicial magistrate, district associate judge and district court judge in the Second Judicial District. He was appointed to the nine-member Court of Appeals in 2009 and selected chief judge in 2013.


Iowa Federal Judge Listed As Potential Supreme Court Nominee in Romney Administration

By: Administrator on April 19th, 2012

By Ryan Koopmans

Today, Reuters reporter David Ingram asks: Who would President Romney nominate to the Supreme Court?  Based on his conversations with lawyers in the know, Ingram ticks off ten possibilities, and that list includes Eighth Circuit Judge, and Iowa native, Steven Colloton.  Judge Colloton–a former clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist–was appointed to the federal appeals court that covers Iowa in 2003.  Before that, he served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa.

Coincidentally, the man that would shepherd any Supreme Court nominee through the Senate under a Romney administration would be Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.  Senator Grassley is currently the ranking member in the Senate Judiciary Committee and, depending on the outcome of the November elections, could be chairman come 2013.

Others on the “short list” include former Solicitor General Paul Clement (who recently argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of Iowa and 25 other states on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act), D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Sykes, and D.C. lawyer Miguel Estrada.  The full article is here.


Eighth Circuit Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Iowa’s Judicial-Selection Method

By: Administrator on April 9th, 2012

By Ryan Koopmans

This morning the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging Iowa’s method of electing members of the State Judicial Nominating Commission under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The Court rejected Plaintiff’s argument that Iowa’s system of allowing only members of the Iowa Bar to vote in the election violates the “one-person, one-vote” principle, reasoning that the system was only subject to rational basis review because the election is “an election of special interest” and concluding that the system was “rationally related to Iowa’s legitimate interests.”  The opinion is here.


Gov. Branstad Appoints Judge Bower to Court of Appeals

By: Administrator on December 8th, 2011

By Ryan Koopmans

Governor Branstad has appointed District Judge Thomas Bower to the Iowa Court of Appeals.  Judge Bower, an 18-year veteran of the First Judicial District and current Chief Judge of the district, will fill the vacancy left by Chief Judge Rosemary Shaw Sackett.  

This is Governor Branstad’s second appointment to the Court of Appeals this year.  In June, he tapped Judge Michael Mullins for the appellate court.

Congratulations, Judge Bower.


Commission Picks Three for Court of Appeals Spot

By: Administrator on November 8th, 2011

By Ryan Koopmans

The State Judicial Nominating Commission interviewed 18 candidates today for the Court of Appeals and selected three: (1) Thomas Bower, chief judge of the First Judicial District; (2) Susan Christensen, district associate judge of the Fourth Judicial District; and (3) Jeanie  Vaudt, assistant attorney general.

Judge Christensen, the daughter of former Justice, and now Senior Judge, Jerry Larson, was a finalist for the last opening.  Judge Bower and Vaudt are also prior applicants.  Governor Branstad has 30 days to make his pick. 


Court of Appeals Vacancy Announced

By: Administrator on October 3rd, 2011

By Ryan Koopmans

The State Judicial Nominating Commission is calling for applications to fill the the vacancy that will be created when Chief Judge Rosemary Sackett retires in January.  Applications are due by October 31, and the Commission will meet on November 8 and 9 to interview and select three nominees.


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On Brief is devoted to appellate litigation, with a focus on the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.



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