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Iowa Supreme Court Selects Justice Susan Christensen As New Chief

susan christensen
Katarina Sostaric/IPR file
New Chief Justice Susan Christensen speaks at a news conference in 2018.

The Iowa Supreme Court announced Monday it selected Susan Christensen as its new chief justice.

Christensen is from Harlan and was appointed to the court by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds in 2018.

The state’s highest court had to pick a new leader after former Chief Justice Mark Cady died unexpectedly in November. Justice David Wiggins has served as acting chief since then, and he plans to retire in March.

In a statement released by the judicial branch, Christensen said, “As chief justice, I will maintain my passion for child welfare and juvenile justice and do my best to lead Iowa’s judiciary in a manner which provides all 99 counties with fair and impartial justice.”

Christensen is the second woman to serve as chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. She was previously a district court judge and a district associate judge, and she practiced law in Harlan. She has served on several committees and task forces dealing with family law, child welfare and juvenile justice.

She is married with five children and five grandchildren. Her father, Jerry Larson, was the longest-serving state supreme court justice in Iowa history.

Christensen was the first of three appointments Reynolds has made to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Reynolds appointed Justice Christopher McDonald in 2019, and Justice Dana Oxley last month. She will soon appoint a fourth justice to bring the court back to its full slate of seven justices.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter