Government

Iowa Supreme Court Justice Bruce Zager will retire in September

Judicial career spans 19 years#xa0;

(File photo)Supreme Court Justice Bruce Zager talks with people at a reception after the State of the Judiciary address at the State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
(File photo)Supreme Court Justice Bruce Zager talks with people at a reception after the State of the Judiciary address at the State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Iowa Supreme Court Justice Bruce B. Zager announced Friday his retirement after a 19-year judicial career, serving the last seven years on the state’s highest court.  

Zager, 65, of Waterloo, will serve his last day on the bench Sept. 3. He was appointed by former Gov. Terry Branstad to the supreme court March 23, 2011 and served 12 years as a First Judicial District judge in Black Hawk County.  

"It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve as the 110th justice in the 180 year history of the Iowa Supreme Court," Zager said in a statement Friday. "Under the exceptional leadership of Chief Justice Mark Cady, it has been particularly rewarding to be a part of a court system recognized as one of the best in the nation. I also want to acknowledge my colleagues on the court for their unfailing commitment to justice, and their genuine kindness and respect that they have shown me during my time on the court.”

“Finally, I want to thank all of the employees of the judicial branch that I have had the privilege of working with over the many years,” Zager said. “It is due to your tireless efforts that we have a court system that ensures justice for all."

Zager, born and raised in Waterloo, earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Iowa in 1975, his master’s degree in Industrial Relations from Loyola University of Chicago in 1977, and his law degree from Drake University Law School in 1980.

He was in private practice in Waterloo from 1981 to 1999, and was an assistant Black Hawk County attorney from 1987 until his appointment as a district judge in 1999. He is married with three children and four grandchildren.  

“Justice Zager has been a very important part of the supreme court and he will be missed both as a clear-thinking, deliberative judge and as a good friend,” Chief Justice Mark Cady said in a statement. “As justices, we are responsible for the administration of the statewide judicial system and rule making. Justice Zager has played an essential part of providing justice to all Iowans by serving on the Iowa Supreme Court Public Outreach Steering Committee, the Committee on Expanded Media Coverage, and the Guardianship and Conservatorship Reform Task Force.” 

In Iowa, a judge is eligible to retire at age 65 with a minimum of four years on the bench, or at age 50 with 20 years of service. All active judges are required to retire at age 72, although a judge may apply for senior status and work at least 13 weeks a year. 

Upon retirement, Zager’s position will be filled from a list of three nominees, submitted by the State Judicial Nominating Commission, and then one will be appointed by the governor.  

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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