Served on the Iowa Supreme Court from 1978 until his retirement in 2000. He served as chief justice from 1987 to 2000.
A native of Ottumwa, Iowa, he served two tours of duty in the United State Army. He attended the University of Iowa and earned his bachelor's and law degrees in 1951 and 1956 respectively. He practiced law in Ottumwa and served as a part-time municipal judge. He was appointed to the Iowa District Court in 1965. During part of his term on the district court, he served as assistant chief judge, and, later as chief judge of the district. Justice McGiverin was president of the Conference of Chief Justices in 1996-1997 and as such served as chair of the board of directors of the National Center for State Courts. He also served as a member of the board of directors of the State Justice Institute, a federal corporation dedicated to assisting state courts.