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Iowa Judicial Branch
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Justices

The Iowa Supreme Court is composed of seven justices.  Appointments to the court are made by the governor from a list of nominees submitted by the State Judicial Nominating Commission.  To be considered for appointment a person must be an attorney licensed to practice in Iowa.

A justice serves an initial term of office that is one year after appointment and until January 1 following the next judicial retention election after expiration of such year.  The regular term of office of justices retained at election is eight years.  A justice must retire upon reaching the age of 72.  A retired justice may serve as a senior judge if assigned by the court to the senior judge program.

Chief Justice

The justices elect the chief justice.  The term of chief justice corresponds with the term of the justice serving in that capacity.

Susan Christensen

Chief Justice

Chief Justice Christensen, Harlan, was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 2018. The members of the court selected her as chief justice in February 2020. She was born and raised in Harlan, Iowa. She earned her bachelor's degree from Judson College in 1988 and her law degree from Creighton...

Brent R. Appel

Justice

Justice Appel, Ackworth, was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2006. A Dubuque native, 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. Following graduation from law school, Justice Appel served as a...

Thomas D. Waterman

Justice

Justice Waterman, Davenport, was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2011. Justice Waterman, who was born in Davenport, Iowa, earned his bachelor of arts degree from Dartmouth College in 1981. He graduated Order of the Coif from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1984, and served as associate...

Edward M. Mansfield

Justice

Justice Mansfield received his undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1978 and his law degree from Yale in 1982. After law school he clerked one year for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Justice Mansfield then worked 26 years as an attorney in private practice until his appointment to the...

Christopher McDonald

Justice

Born overseas into a military family, Justice McDonald was raised in Des Moines. He earned his undergraduate degree from Grand View University in 1997, and he earned his law degree from the University of Iowa in 2001. Justice McDonald graduated from law school with highest distinction. He received the John...

Dana Oxley

Justice

Justice Oxley, Swisher, was appointed to the Supreme Court in January 2020. Justice Oxley was born in Neosho, Missouri and grew up in Greenfield, Iowa. She received her undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Northern Iowa in 1990 and received her J.D. from the University of Iowa in...

Matthew McDermott

Justice

Justice McDermott, West Des Moines, was appointed to the Supreme Court in April 2020. Justice McDermott was born and raised in Carroll, Iowa. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa in 2000 and his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 2003, where he served...

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