|Supreme Court of Iowa|
Iowa Judicial Branch Building
|Location||Des Moines, Iowa|
|Composition method||Missouri Plan|
|Authorized by||Iowa Constitution|
|Appeals to||Supreme Court of the United States|
|Number of positions||7|
|Since||January 11, 2011|
|Lead position ends||December 31, 2024|
|Jurist term ends||December 31, 2024|
The Supreme Court of Iowa is the highest court in the U.S. state of Iowa. As constitutional head of the Iowa Judicial Branch, the Court is composed of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices.
In the United States, a state supreme court is the ultimate judicial tribunal in the court system of a particular state. On matters of state law, the decisions of a state supreme court are considered final and binding on state and even United States federal courts.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders.
Iowa is a state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states: Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west, South Dakota to the northwest, and Minnesota to the north.
The Court holds its regular sessions in Des Moines in the Iowa Judicial Branch Building located at 1111 East Court Avenue on the state Capitol grounds just south of the Iowa State Capitol.
Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Iowa. It is also the county seat of Polk County. A small part of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines, which was shortened to "Des Moines" in 1857. It is on and named after the Des Moines River, which likely was adapted from the early French name, Rivière des Moines, meaning "River of the Monks". The city's population was 216,853 as of the 2018 population estimate. The five-county metropolitan area is ranked 89th in terms of population in the United States with 655,409 residents according to the 2018 estimate by the United States Census Bureau, and is the largest metropolitan area fully located within the state. A portion of the larger Omaha, Nebraska metropolitan area extends into three counties of southwest Iowa.
The Iowa State Capitol, commonly called the Iowa Statehouse, is in Iowa's capital city, Des Moines. As the seat of the Iowa General Assembly, the building houses the Iowa Senate, Iowa House of Representatives, the Office of the Governor, and the Offices of the Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer, and Secretary of State. The building also includes a chamber for the Iowa Supreme Court, although court activities usually take place in the neighboring Iowa Supreme Court building. The building was constructed between 1871 and 1886, and is the only five-domed capitol in the country.
In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to join the United States. Following the constitution of the Federal government, the powers of the government in Iowa were divided into the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. In the judicial branch, the Iowa General Assembly divided the state into four judicial districts, and Supreme Court justices were to serve six year terms, while district judges were elected for five year terms. The Constitution of Iowa of 1857 increased the judicial districts from four to 11, and allowed the General Assembly to reorganize districts after 1860 and every four years thereafter.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.
The Iowa General Assembly (IGA) is the legislative branch of the state government of Iowa. Like the federal United States Congress, the General Assembly is a bicameral body, composed of the upper house Iowa Senate and the lower Iowa House of Representatives respectively. The Senate consists of four year terms and the House consists of two year terms. The General Assembly convenes within the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.
The Supreme Court of Iowa is an appellate court. An appellate court reviews decisions of trial courts in which appeals have been allowed. An appellate court does not preside over trials. Appellate court hearings do not involve witnesses, juries, new evidence, or court reporters. Instead, an appellate court reviews the written record of the trial court to determine whether any significant legal errors occurred. The Rules of Appellate Procedure list the requirements for filing an appeal.
An appellate court, commonly called an appeals court, court of appeals, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In most jurisdictions, the court system is divided into at least three levels: the trial court, which initially hears cases and reviews evidence and testimony to determine the facts of the case; at least one intermediate appellate court; and a supreme court which primarily reviews the decisions of the intermediate courts. A jurisdiction's supreme court is that jurisdiction's highest appellate court. Appellate courts nationwide can operate under varying rules.
The seven-member Supreme Court of Iowa has many important responsibilities.
Justices are appointed by the governor from a list of nominees submitted by the State Judicial Nominating Commission. 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. The justices elect the chief justice.
The Missouri Plan is a method for the selection of judges. It originated in Missouri in 1940 and has been adopted by several states of the United States. Similar methods are used in some other countries.
A judicial retention election is a periodic process in some jurisdictions whereby a judge is subject to a referendum held at the same time as a general election. The judge is removed from office if a majority of votes are cast against retention.
|Name||Appointed/Elected||Term expires||Appointing Governor||Governor's Party Affiliation|
|Chief Justice Mark Cady||1998||December 31, 2024||Terry Branstad||Republican|
|David Wiggins||2003||December 31, 2020||Tom Vilsack||Democratic|
|Christopher McDonald||February 20, 2019||December 31, 2020||Kim Reynolds||Republican|
|Brent R. Appel||2006||December 31, 2024||Tom Vilsack||Democratic|
|Edward Mansfield||February 2011||December 31, 2020||Terry Branstad||Republican|
|Thomas D. Waterman||February 2011||December 31, 2020||Terry Branstad||Republican|
|Susan Christensen||September 4, 2018||December 31, 2020||Kim Reynolds||Republican|
Mark Cady is the current Chief Justice on the Court.
The Court had three vacancies following the defeat of three justices in the November 2, 2010, retention election.Those vacancies were filled in February 2011 by the appointments of Edward Mansfield, Thomas D. Waterman, and Bruce Zager. In March 2011, the Court voted for Justice Cady to continue as Chief Justice.
In 1868, the Iowa Supreme Court decided Clark v. Board of School Directors ,ruling that racially segregated "separate but equal" schools had no place in Iowa, 86 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.
In 1869, Iowa became the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law, with the Court ruling that women may not be denied the right to practice law in Iowa and admitting Arabella A. Mansfield to the practice of law.
The Court heard Coger v. The North Western Union Packet Co.in 1873, ruling against racial discrimination in public accommodations 91 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.
On April 3, 2009, in Varnum v. Brien ,the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down a statutory same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional, joining the highest judicial bodies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, and Hawaii as the fifth court to rule for the right of same-sex marriage under the state constitution. At the next judicial retention election in 2010, voters removed all three justices facing a retention vote. It was the first time any Iowa Supreme Court justice had been removed by voters. Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, Justice Michael Streit, and Justice David L. Baker each received support from 45% or less of voters.
The Court heard arguments in a lawsuit brought against the state of Iowa and the Iowa Board of Medicine by Planned Parenthood and Dr. Jill Meadows regarding a 72-hour waiting period to receive an abortion enacted by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Terry Branstad in 2017. The Court decided in a 5-2 majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice Mark Cady, that the waiting period violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution because its restrictions "are not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest of the state." Justice Cady argued that the state can inform women about abortion, including providing information about adoption, but that a 72-hour waiting period does not serve this interest sufficiently narrowly and imposes an undue burden on Iowan women.
The Tennessee Supreme Court is the ultimate judicial tribunal of the state of Tennessee. Jeffrey S. Bivins is the Chief Justice.
The Court of Appeals of Maryland is the supreme court of the U.S. state of Maryland. The court, which is composed of one chief judge and six associate judges, meets in the Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building in the state capital, Annapolis. The term of the Court begins the second Monday of September. The Court is unique among American courts in that the judges wear red robes. The Maryland Court of Appeals joins the New York Court of Appeals in being the only two state highest courts to bear the name "Court of Appeals" rather than "Supreme Court".
The Supreme Court of Florida is the highest court in the U.S. state of Florida. It consists of seven members—the chief justice and six justices. Five members are chosen from five districts around the state to foster geographic diversity and two are selected at-large.
The Alaska Supreme Court is the state supreme court in the State of Alaska's judiciary.
The Alaska Court of Appeals is an intermediate court of appeals in the State of Alaska's judicial department, created in 1980 by the Alaska Legislature as an additional appellate court to lessen the burden on the Alaska Supreme Court. The court of appeals consists of a chief judge and two associate judges, who are all appointed by the governor of Alaska and face judicial retention elections every eight years; the chief judge of the court of appeals is selected from among the three by the chief justice of the supreme court to serve a two-year term.
The Supreme Court of Oklahoma is one of the two highest judicial bodies in the U.S. state of Oklahoma and leads the judiciary of Oklahoma, the judicial branch of the government of Oklahoma.
The Arizona Supreme Court is the state supreme court of the U.S. state of Arizona. It consists of a chief justice, a vice chief justice, and five associate justices. Each justice is appointed by the governor of Arizona from a list recommended by a bipartisan commission. Justices stand for retention in an election two years after their appointment and then every six years. They must retire at age 70.
The Kansas Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in the state of Kansas. Composed of seven justices, led by Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, the court supervises the legal profession, administers the judicial branch, and serves as the state court of last resort in the appeals process.
Hubert Utterback served very briefly on the Iowa Supreme Court, then was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives, serving only one term.
The Judiciary of Colorado is established and authorized by Article VI of the Colorado Constitution as well as the law of Colorado. The various courts include the Colorado Supreme Court, Colorado Court of Appeals, Colorado district courts, Colorado county courts, Colorado water courts, and municipal courts. The administration of the state judicial system is the responsibility of the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court as its executive head, and is assisted by several other commissions. In Denver, the county and municipal courts are integrated and administratively separate from the state court system.
Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in the U.S state of Iowa since a decision of the Iowa Supreme Court on April 3, 2009. Marriage licenses became available to same-sex couples on April 27.
Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862, was a unanimous decision of the Iowa Supreme Court dated April 3, 2009, in which the Court held that the state's limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. The case had the effect of legally recognizing same-sex marriage in Iowa. In 2007, a lower court had granted summary judgment in favor of six same-sex couples who sued Timothy Brien, Polk County Recorder, for refusing to grant them marriage licenses.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the U.S. state of Iowa have evolved significantly in the 21st century. Iowa began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on April 27, 2009 following a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, making Iowa the fourth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples may also adopt, and state laws ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The judiciary of Iowa is a branch of the Government of Iowa that interprets and applies the laws of Iowa, to ensure equal justice under law, and to provide a mechanism for dispute resolution. Article V of the Constitution of the State of Iowa defines the judiciary as comprising a Supreme Court, district courts, and any inferior courts established by the General Assembly.
The Judiciary of California is defined under the California Constitution, law, and regulations as part of the Government of California. The judiciary has a hierarchical structure with the Supreme Court at the apex, California courts of appeal as the primary appellate courts, and the California superior courts as the primary trial courts. Its administration is effected by the Judicial Council and its staff, as well as the relatively autonomous courts. California uses a modified Missouri Plan method of appointing judges, whereby judges are nominally elected at the superior court level and appointed at higher levels, and are subject to retention elections.
Daryl L. Hecht was a justice on the Iowa Supreme Court and president of Iowa Trial Lawyers Association.
David L. Baker was a Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court from 2008 to December 31, 2010.
Marsha K. Ternus is an American lawyer and served as a Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court from September 7, 1993 to December 31, 2010, appointed from Polk County, Iowa As a Justice, Ternus was part of the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling legally recognizing same-sex marriage in Iowa, and was removed from office after a judicial retention election, following campaigning by groups opposed to same-sex marriage including the National Organization for Marriage. In 2012, Ternus received a Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, along with fellow Justices David L. Baker and Michael Streit.