Iowa’s highest court is the Iowa Supreme Court. The court has six justices and one chief justice. The justices on the supreme court elect the chief justice by majority vote, and the term of chief justice corresponds with the term of the justice serving in that capacity. (Source: Iowa Supreme Court)

Judicial Selection

The governor appoints an Iowa Supreme Court justice from a list provided by a judicial nominating commission. After at least one year on the court, a justice may stand for an eight-year term in an unopposed yes/no retention vote at the time of Iowa’s next general election. Justices may stand for additional terms in the same retention process. When a seat on the court opens in the middle of a justice’s term, the governor appoints a judicial candidate from a list provided by a judicial nominating commission. There are no term limits. The mandatory retirement age is 72. 

State Constitution

Iowa has had two constitutions adopted in 1846 and 1857. As of January 1, 2024, it had 55 amendments. (Source: John Dinan, 2024)



Sole footer logo

A project of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law