Chief Justice Susan Christensen to Deliver Her First Condition of the Judiciary Message this Week

January 12, 2021

What Concerns Are You Hoping to Hear Addressed?

Iowa Supreme Court Justice Susan Christensen, recently reselected by her peers as Chief Justice, will deliver her first Condition of the Judiciary message to the Legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m.

According to a news release from the Court, Christensen’s speech will be broadcast live on Iowa Public Television as well as streamed online from the Iowa PBS website, Facebook, and YouTube pages.

Every year we pay very close attention to this presentation by the Chief Justice, as well as the Governor’s Condition of the State speech a day earlier, for any proposals that might impact the integrity of fair and impartial courts in Iowa. We have two “asks” for you:

  1. Tell us in advance what concerns you hope Chief Justice Christensen will address in her first Condition of the Judiciary speech.
  2. Share your thoughts after you’ve had a chance to digest both “Condition Of” presentations by the Governor and the Chief Justice.

You can do so by replying directly to this email or posting to the Justice Not Politics Facebook and Twitter pages. We hope to highlight some of these responses in future articles.

Christensen Only the Third Woman to Serve on Iowa Supreme Court, Second as Chief Justice

Many Iowans are still getting to know Judge Christensen, the third woman to serve on the state’s highest court and the second to be selected by her peers as Chief Justice. At the time of her appointment by Gov. Kim Reynolds to Iowa’s highest court in 2018, Iowa was the only state in the country with an all-male Supreme Court. “To my soon new colleagues on the Iowa Supreme Court, I look forward to working with you — and dusting off the ladies’ room,” quipped Christensen in a Des Moines Register article announcing her appointment.

Christensen was re-selected Chief Justice last week by a majority vote of her peers after she was first elected to hold that position following the 2020 retirement of Acting Chief Justice David Wiggins.

Speaking of the challenges she faced during her first 10 months at the helm, 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.”

Born and raised in Harlan, Iowa, Christensen worked her way up the ladder in the legal profession, first as a practicing lawyer for 16 years, a district associate judge, and a district court judge before joining the Supreme Court.

Judicial service also runs in the Chief’s family. Christensen’s brother, Jeff Larson, is the chief judge of Iowa’s fourth judicial district. Their father, Jerry Larson, was the longest serving Supreme Court Justice in Iowa history, serving from 1978-2008 (former Justice Larson passed away in 2018). You can read Christensen’s official biography here.

The Justice Not Politics Team