Iowa Supreme Court Chief Acting Justice David Wiggins announced on Friday that he is retiring from the state’s highest court, effective in March.
The news comes about 24 hours after Gov. Kim Reynolds received the names of three finalists to fill another vacancy on the court.
Wiggins, 68, was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2003 by former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. His departure will allow Reynolds to appoint her fourth selection to the seven-person court.
“Justice David Wiggins has been a dedicated public servant for the last 17 years and has ably led the court through a difficult time after the passing of Chief Justice Cady,” said Reynolds in a statement. “Justice Wiggins has been a distinguished and active member of the legal community, and I wish him well on his retirement.”
Reynolds is currently picking her third appointment to the court, following the unexpected death of Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady in November. She appointed Susan Christensen and Christopher McDonald to the court in 2018 and 2019, respectively, according to the Iowa Judicial Branch.
Wiggins presided over several historic cases in Iowa, including Varnum v. Brien, which legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa in 2009. He was met with opposition during his 2012 retention election, but kept his seat.
The State Judicial Nominating Commission will interview applicants for his seat and recommend three nominees to Reynolds, who will appoint the next justice.
Iowa’s justice nomination process has been under scrutiny after a new law passed in 2019 giving Reynolds more control over the 17-person nominating commission. Eight commissioners are elected by lawyers and nine are appointed by Reynolds and confirmed by the Iowa Senate.