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Reynolds names Iowa Supreme Court pick

Susan Christensen

Gov. Kim Reynolds has selected an Iowa District Judge to be the next Iowa Supreme Court justice, adding a woman to the state's highest court bench for the first time in eight years.

Reynolds announced Wednesday that District Court Judge Susan Christensen would replace retiring Justice Bruce Zager next month.

Christensen was one of three female finalists chosen by a state commission to join the seven-member Supreme Court, which has been made up of all male justices since 2010.

Christensen graduated from Judson College in 1988 and received her law degree from Creighton University School of Law in 1991. She served as a District Associate Judge from 2007 until her appointment to the fourth judicial district bench in southwest Iowa, where she has been serving since November 2015.

Reynolds said she is “proud” that Christensen will be serving on the court, calling her “thoughtful, smart and hardworking” at a press conference announcing her pick at the state capitol Wednesday.

“She’s more than just a sharp legal mind, she has an incredible heart. I believe Judge Christensen will bring that heart and practical perspective to the Supreme Court," Reynolds said.

Unlike U.S. Supreme Court appointees who are nominated by the president and approved by the U.S. Senate, Iowa Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor from a list provided by a the State Judicial Nominating Commission. There is no approval needed from the Iowa Senate.

“To my soon new colleagues on the Iowa Supreme Court, I look forward to working with you and dusting off the ladies room," Christensen said.

For Christensen, the Iowa Supreme Court runs in the family. Her father, the late Judge Jerry Larson, was the longest-serving justice in Iowa Supreme Court history, serving from 1978-2008.

She will be the only woman on the Iowa Supreme Court after she is sworn in September 4.

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