DES MOINES, Iowa – Justice Brent Appel will retire from the Iowa Supreme Court effective July 13 when he turns 72, the state’s mandatory retirement age for judges. Appel has served on the Iowa Supreme Court since 2006 after his appointment by former Governor Tom Vilsack.
He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University in California in 1973 and his J.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1977.
After graduating from law school, Appel served as a court law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He served in Iowa Attorney General’s office from 1979 to 1987. He was engaged in private practice in Central Iowa from 1987 until his nomination and appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court in 2006.
Appel is the last serving justice appointed by a Democratic governor and the last remaining justice on the Iowa Supreme Court who joined the majority opinion in Varnum v. Brien legalizing same-sex marriage in 2009. In addition, he is the last remaining justice to join the majority opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds in 2018 that found a right to abortion in Iowa’s Constitution.
Appel is married to former Democratic State Senator Staci Appel. They have five sons and one daughter.
This week, the State Judicial Nominating Commission announced they are taking applications for this upcoming vacancy until 11:59 pm on June 17, 2022.
Members of the public are encouraged to email the Commissioners (emails found here). To be considered, communications from the public must be received by the Commissioners by 11:59 P.M. on June 23, 2022.
The State Judicial Nominating Commission set aside June 27-28, 2022, to publicly interview the candidates in the Iowa Supreme Court chambers.
After the State Judicial Nominating Commission interviews the candidates, they will nominate three for Gov. Kim Reynolds to consider. This appointment will be Reynolds’ fifth to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Reynolds appointed Susan Christensen in 2018, Christopher McDonald in 2019, and Dana Oxley and Matthew McDermott in 2020.