Government

Two Iowans on Trump's short list of Supreme Court picks

Sen. Chuck Grassley expects president to make a choice soon

Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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Two Iowa judges are on the list of 25 names that President Donald Trump has said he’ll use to select the next U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

The White House added five names to the list last November after the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, although the two Iowans already were on the list.

“President Trump will choose a nominee for a future Supreme Court vacancy, should one arise, from this updated list of 25 individuals,” the White House announced at the time. “The president remains deeply committed to identifying and selecting outstanding jurists in the mold of Justice Gorsuch. These additions, like those on the original list released more than a year ago, were selected with input from respected conservative leaders.”

The list includes:

  • Steven Colloton of Des Moines, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. Colloton, an Iowa City native and Yale Law School graduate, clerked for former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Before joining the 8th Circuit, he was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa and an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Iowa. He also was an associate in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.
  • Edward Mansfield, also of Des Moines, is a justice on the Iowa Supreme Court. Mansfield, also a Yale Law School graduate, was born in Massachusetts and was an adjunct professor at Drake University in Des Moines. He was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court by Gov. Terry Branstad in 2011, after having served on the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Whomever the nominee, he or she will pass through the Senate Judicial Committee chaired by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley. The senator dismissed calls from Democrats on Wednesday that confirmation hearings wait until after the midterm elections this November.

“I look forward to having the nominee before us in the Senate Judiciary Committee for his or her hearing in the weeks ahead,” he said.

Asked about Democratic demands this wait until after the election, a Grassley spokesman said, “The precedent, established by the Biden rule, only applies to presidential election years.”

Grassley has frequently cited the “Biden rule,” a reference to a 1992 speech in which then-Sen. Joe Biden said that if a Supreme Court seat were to become vacant in the summer, then a nomination should wait until after the election.

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Democrats still seethe over Grassley’s refusal to hold hearings for former President Barack Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland, and paving the way for Gorsuch instead.

It was an issue that Grassley’s opponent in the 2016 election, Democrat Patty Judge, brought up frequently.

However, Grassley won re-election easily.

Ed Tibbetts of the Quad City Times and James Q. Lynch of The Gazette contributed to this report.

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