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Reynolds appoints Judge David May to Iowa Supreme Court

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday she is appointing Judge David May to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Natalie Krebs
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday she is appointing Judge David May to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed Judge David May to the Iowa Supreme Court, marking her fifth appointment to the state's highest court since assuming office in 2017.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Reynolds said she chose May because of his experience in a variety of legal positions.

"At every point in this decision, Judge May of the the Iowa Court of Appeals stood out for his experience, his approach to interpretation and his commitment to judicial restraint," she said.

Judge May was chosen from a short list of three candidates sent to Gov. Reynolds by the State Judicial Nominating Commission a month ago.

The other two candidates were Des Moines attorney William Miller and Clayton County District Court Judge Alan Heavens.

May currently serves as a judge on the Iowa Court of Appeals, a position Reynolds appointed him to three years ago, and was a finalist for a previous Supreme Court vacancy in 2020.

He's worked as a district court judge in the Fifth Judicial District and as an attorney in private practice for Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave in Des Moines. He's a graduate of Drake University Law School.

May's appointment comes shortly after the Iowa Supreme Court released a ruling in mid-June reversing a previous 2018 Supreme Court decision that established abortion as a fundamental right under the state constitution.

On Wednesday, May said he intends to decide cases based on the law as written and with what’s consistent with the U.S. and Iowa constitutions.

"The basic principles of judging remain the same," he said, "Judges don't exercise the powers of the executive and the legislature. We have a different job. Our job is to decide legal disputes."

May will replace Justice Brent Appel who turned 72 this month, which is the mandatory age for state Supreme Court justices to retire.

May’s appointment means all seven of Iowa’s justices have been appointed by Republican governors.

Former Gov. Terry Branstad appointed the other two justices.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter