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Reynolds Appoints Appeals Court Judge Christopher McDonald To Iowa Supreme Court

christopher mcdonald
Katarina Sostaric/IPR
Christopher McDonald speaks at the Iowa Capitol after Gov. Kim Reynolds announced his appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds Wednesday appointed Court of Appeals Judge Christopher McDonald to serve on the Iowa Supreme Court.

Reynolds said she is proud to appoint McDonald to the court.

“On the bench, Judge McDonald has earned a reputation as a brilliant and thoughtful jurist, a hard worker and a good colleague,” Reynolds said.

She said McDonald was born in Thailand, the son of a Scottish-Irish father and Vietnamese mother. He grew up in Des Moines and worked as an attorney before former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad appointed him as a district court judge and then an appeals court judge in 2013.

McDonald said his position will change soon, but his core commitment stay the same.

“I promise to continue to be a faithful servant to the constitution and laws of this great state,” McDonald said. “To fairly and impartially decide cases and administer justice in good faith to the best of my ability.” 

McDonald is set to replace former Justice Daryl Hecht, who resigned in December because he is undergoing cancer treatment.

“And I know that as the first minority or person of color appointed to the supreme court, people will have special expectations for me in terms of leadership and mentorship,” McDonald said. “And I understand that. I appreciate that. I embrace those expectations, and I’ll certainly do my best to meet and exceed them.”

This is Reynolds’ second appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court. She said she supports current efforts by Republican lawmakers to change the nominating commissions that send names of potential justices for her to choose from.

Asked previously if she is unhappy with names that have been sent to her by the state judicial nominating commission, Reynolds said, “That’s not the case.”