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Iowa Supreme Court reselects Justice Susan Christensen, Harlan, as chief justice

This news story was published on January 13, 2021.
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Susan Christensen

DES MOINES – The Iowa Supreme Court reselected Justice Susan Christensen, Harlan, as chief justice. At the first meeting in each odd-numbered year, the justices of the supreme court by majority vote shall designate one justice as chief justice, to serve for a two-year term. Chief Justice Christensen was first selected chief justice following the retirement of Acting Chief Justice David Wiggins in February 2020.

“After a very challenging first 10 months, I am honored to continue to serve as Chief Justice of Iowa’s court system,” Chief Justice Christensen said. “I have seen how the judges and employees of the judicial branch responded to the pandemic and derecho and I could not be more proud of their efforts. Everyone in the judicial branch faced both crises head on and responded quickly, doing whatever was needed to keep our courts open to the fullest extent, while keeping our people safe, and protecting our communities. I am humbled to lead such a resilient group of public servants.”

In addition to judicial duties and writing opinions, the chief justice presides over oral arguments and court conferences, sets the court’s oral argument schedule, and delivers the state of the judiciary address to the legislature each January. As administrative head of the Iowa Judicial Branch, the chief justice presides over the judicial council and works with the state court administrator to manage judicial branch operations. The chief justice also appoints members to supreme court committees and task forces to propose policies and rules of procedure and practice.

Chief Justice Christensen was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 2018 by Governor Reynolds. She was retained by Iowa voters in November 2020 and will be up for retention again in November 2028. Prior to her appointment to the supreme court, Chief Justice Christensen was selected as a district associate judge in 2007 and appointed a district court judge in 2015. Before becoming a judge, she practiced law in Harlan for 16 years. Chief Justice Christensen currently chairs the Children’s Justice State Council. She previously served on the supreme court’s Family Law Task Force, Family Law Pro Se Forms Committee, Child Support Guidelines Review Committee, and Parents Representation Standards Committee. She is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association, the Southwest Iowa Bar Association, and the Shelby County Bar Association.

Chief Justice Christensen was born and raised in Harlan, Iowa. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Judson College in 1988 and her law degree from Creighton University School of Law in 1991. She is married with five children and six grandchildren.

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