Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Christensen will remain head of court for another term

Majority vote gives her another two-year term

Justice Susan Christensen asks Wilford Stone (not picutred), attorney for appellants City of Cedar Rapids and Lucas Jone
Justice Susan Christensen asks Wilford Stone (not picutred), attorney for appellants City of Cedar Rapids and Lucas Jones, a question during oral arguments in Jerime Mitchell and Bracken Mitchell v. City of Cedar Rapids and Officer Lucas Jones before the Supreme Court of Iowa in Des Moines on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — The Iowa Supreme Court again selected Justice Susan Christensen as chief on Friday.

The court in each odd-numbered year at its first meeting designates one justice as chief by a majority vote to serve a two-year term. Christensen was first selected as chief following the retirement of Acting Chief Justice David Wiggins in February of last year.

“After a very challenging first 10 months, I am honored to continue to serve as Chief Justice of Iowa’s court system,” Christensen said in a statement. “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 the judicial duties, a chief justice presides over oral arguments and court conferences, sets the oral argument schedule and delivers the state of the judiciary address to the legislature, which Christensen will do on Wednesday.

The chief justice presides over the judicial council and works with the state court administrator to manage judicial branch operations, according to judicial officials. The chief also appoints members to court committees and task forces to propose policies and rules of procedure and practice.

Christensen, who was born and raised in Harlan, was appointed to the high court in 2018 by Gov. Kim Reynolds. She was retained by Iowa voters in last November’s election and will be up for retention again in November 2028.

Before her appointment, Christensen was selected as a district associate judge in 2007 and then appointed as a District Court judge in 2015. Before becoming a judge, she practiced law in Harlan for 16 years.


She currently chairs the Children’s Justice State Council and previously served on the 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.

Christensen received 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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