Chief Justice Susan Kay Christensen
Chief Justice Christensen, Harlan, was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 2018. The members of the court selected her as chief justice in February 2020.
She was born and raised in Harlan, Iowa. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Judson College in 1988 and her law degree from Creighton University School of Law in 1991.
Prior to her appointment to the supreme court, Chief Justice Christensen was appointed a district associate judge in 2007 and a district court judge in 2015. Before becoming a judge, she practiced law in Harlan for 16 years.
Chief Justice Christensen chaired the Children’s Justice State Council and the Family First Task Force, and served on the Supreme Court’s Family Law Pro Se Forms Committee, Child Support Guidelines Review Committee, Parents Representation Standards Committee, and Guardianship/ Conservatorship Task Force as well as the Children’s Mental Health and Well being Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Iowa Judges Association, the Iowa State Bar Association, the Southwest Iowa Bar Association, and the Shelby County Bar Association.
Chief Justice Christensen is married with five children and almost six grandchildren.
Justice Edward Mansfield
Justice Mansfield received his undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1978 and his law degree from Yale in 1982. After law school he clerked one year for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Justice Mansfield then worked 26 years as an attorney in private practice until his appointment to the Iowa Court of Appeals in 2009. Two years later, Justice Mansfield joined the Iowa Supreme Court.
Justice Mansfield has been an adjunct professor of law at Drake University since 1997, teaching subjects ranging from contracts to antitrust and sports law. Justice Mansfield is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association, having served several terms as Chair of the Trade Regulation Section. Justice Mansfield currently chairs the task force on revision of the Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure. He is also a member of the Polk County Bar Association and the Iowa Judges Association. Justice Mansfield has previously served as a Member and a Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Goodwill of Central Iowa. Justice Mansfield is married and has three children.
Justice Christopher McDonald
Born overseas into a military family, Justice McDonald was raised in Des Moines. He earned his undergraduate degree from Grand View University in 1997, and he earned his law degree from the University of Iowa in 2001. Justice McDonald graduated from law school with highest distinction. He received the John F. Murray Award and earned Order of the Coif Honor Society recognition.
After graduating from law school, Justice McDonald served as a law clerk to the Honorable David R. Hansen, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Justice McDonald then worked in private practice in Central Iowa for a number of years before being appointed to serve as a Judge of the District Court, Fifth Judicial District of Iowa. In 2013, he was appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals. In 2019, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Iowa.
Justice McDonald has been an active member of his community. He has supported numerous non-profit, community, and professional organizations in Iowa. He has served on the Board of Directors of Bravo Greater Des Moines, the Iowa Asian Alliance, the Iowa Foundation for
Microenterprise and Community Vitality, and the Iowa Judges Association, among others. Justice McDonald is a recipient of the Governor’s Volunteer Award.
Justice McDonald is married and has three children.
Justice Thomas Waterman
Justice Waterman, Davenport, was appointed to the Supreme Court in Justice Waterman, who was born in Davenport, Iowa, earned his bachelor of arts degree from Dartmouth College in 1981. He graduated Order of the Coif from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1984, and served as associate editor of the law review. He was in private practice at Lane & Waterman LLP in Davenport from 1984 until his appointment. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute.
Before joining the court, Justice Waterman was active in numerous organizations including the Jury Instruction Committee of the Iowa State Bar Association, the American College of Trial Lawyers, and the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers. He was a member of the State Judicial Nominating Commission from 1999-2005, and was a co-editor of Defense Update, the quarterly publication of the Iowa Defense Counsel Association. An avid endurance sports enthusiast, he has completed seven Ironman triathlons and several ultra-marathons including the Leadville, Colorado100 mile trail run, and the Grand Canyon “Rim to Rim to Rim.” His volunteer work included serving as Board Chair for the Scott County Family YMCA and Rivermont Collegiate.
Justice Waterman is married and has four daughters, including triplets.
Judicial Performance Evaluation Results