Government

Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins to retire

His departure means Gov. Kim Reynolds will appoint court majority

Justice David Wiggins asks in February 2019 in a Cedar Rapids case before the Iowa Supreme Court. Wiggins announced Frid
Justice David Wiggins asks in February 2019 in a Cedar Rapids case before the Iowa Supreme Court. Wiggins announced Friday he will retire in March. With his departure, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds will have appointed four of the justices on the seven-member court. (The Gazette)

DES MOINES — David Wiggins, the acting chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, announced Friday he will retire March 13.

Wiggins, 68, of West Des Moines, was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 2003.

Gov. Kim Reynolds will appoint his successor after receiving the names of three applicants from the State Judicial Nominating Commission.

The governor is now considering three names to fill the vacancy on the court created by the Nov. 15 death of Chief Justice Mark Cady.

As the acting chief justice, Wiggins on Wednesday is scheduled to deliver the annual Condition of the Judiciary address to Iowa legislators.

“Justice David Wiggins has been a dedicated public servant for the last 17 years and has ably led the court through a difficult time after the passing of Chief Justice Cady,” Reynolds said Friday in a statement. “Justice Wiggins has been a distinguished and active member of the legal community, and I wish him well on his retirement.”

Earlier this week, the 17-member State Judicial Nominating Commission interviewed seven men and five women who had applied to become the justice succeeding Cady. The commission on Thursday forwarded three names to Reynolds, who has 30 days to appoint the new justice — her third appointment to the seven-member Supreme Court.

Wiggins and Cady were on the court when it delivered the unanimous Varnum ruling in 2009 that legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa.

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In 2010, Iowa voters, organized by conservative groups, ousted three of those justices who were standing for retention on the November ballot. A similar effort in 2012 to oust Wiggins failed, and he remained on the bench.

Wiggins, born in Chicago, graduated from the University of Illinois in Chicago and Drake University Law School. He practiced law in West Des Moines before being appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Tom Vilsack.

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