Names of 3 finalists for Iowa Supreme Court sent to governor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A panel Thursday sent three Iowa Supreme Court nominees to the governor, offering her a choice between a judge who writes crime novels, a Des Moines attorney with Republican Party connections and an attorney who lives on a hobby farm.

The Judicial Nominating Commission made the nominations to Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has 30 days to appoint a new judge to replace Chief Justice Mark Cady following his unexpected death in November.

The nominees, chosen from 12 applicants, were Judge Joel Barrows, Matt McDermott and Dana Oxley.

Barrows, of Bettendorf, wrote “Deep White Cover,” a 2014 crime novel focused on U.S. struggles to gain control of its borders, and other books.

McDermott, a Des Moines lawyer, was legal counsel for the Republican Party of Iowa from 2007 to 2012 and previously served on the Polk County Republican Party Central Committee. He said in his application that he also served as legal counsel to Sen. John McCain’s campaign for president in 2008 and supported Gov. Jeb Bush in his campaign for president in 2016.

Dana Oxley, the only woman finalist, is a Cedar Rapids attorney who says the court should “not blindly apply its prior decisions, but must be vigilant in protecting the rule of law.”