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Three Iowa Supreme Court applicants, including Clear Lake native, have ties to governor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Three applicants to fill an Iowa Supreme Court vacancy have close political ties to Gov. Kim Reynolds who, thanks to Republican changes to the judicial nominating process last year, now has a heavier influence over the panel that chooses finalists. 

Among the 15 applicants to be interviewed Friday by the State Judicial Nominating Commission is Sam Langholz, the governor’s senior legal counsel. If he’s a finalist Reynolds could decide whether her own lawyer becomes the next justice. 

Democratic Sen. Rob Hogg says it’s a test to see if the commission has turned partisan or continues Iowa’s merit-based selection of judges.

Langholz grew up in Clear Lake and currently lives in Ankeny. 

The commission will meet Friday in the courtroom of the Supreme Court to interview the 15 applicants. The commission will then select three finalists to recommend to the governor — who will then choose one to appoint to the court.

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