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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Iowa Supreme Court
Seal of Iowa
Established 1841
Jurisdiction Iowa Iowa, United States United States
Location Des Moines, Iowa
Composition method Missouri Plan
Authorized by Iowa Constitution
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States

The Iowa Supreme Court is the constitutional head of the judicial branch of the U.S. state of Iowa. 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.

Its members and appointment years are:

  • Chief Justice Marsha K. Ternus, 1993 (Justice), 2006 (Chief Justice)
  • Mark S. Cady, 1998
  • Michael J. Streit, 2001
  • David Wiggins, 2003
  • Daryl Hecht, 2006
  • Brent R. Appel, 2006
  • David L. Baker, 2008


Notable decisions

In Re the Matter of Ralph

In the very first decision of the Iowa Supreme Court — In Re the Matter of Ralph,[1] decided July 1839 — the Court rejected slavery in a decision that found that a slave named Ralph became free when he stepped on Iowa soil, 26 years before the end of the Civil War.[2]

Clark v. The Board of Directors

In 1868, the Iowa Supreme Court decided Clark v. The Board of Directors,[3] ruling that racially segregated “separate but equal” schools had no place in Iowa, 85 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.[2]

Arabella A. Mansfield

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.[2]

Coger v. The North Western Union Packet Co.

The Court heard Coger v. The North Western Union Packet Co.[4] in 1873, ruling against racial discrimination in public accommodations 91 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.[2]

Varnum v. Brien

On April 3, 2009, in Varnum v. Brien[5], 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.[6]

See also

External links


  1. ^ 1 Morris 1 (Iowa 1839)
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^ 24 Iowa 266 (1868)
  4. ^ 37 Iowa 145 (1873)
  5. ^ WL 874044 (Iowa 2009)
  6. ^ Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman[1]

Coordinates: 41°35′18″N 93°36′04″W / 41.588273°N 93.601193°W / 41.588273; -93.601193

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