Oskaloosa.com

Local News

December 10, 2012

Osky law student looks at Iowa Supreme Court

OSKALOOSA — Iowa is only one of two states that has an all-male Supreme Court and law student Gina Messamer, of Oskaloosa, suggests some changes to balance that out.

Messamer is a third-year law student at the University of Iowa and wrote a study on the issue for the Iowa Law Review.

“I wrote this last year as a student writer,” she said.

Messamer said she got the idea to write about the Iowa Supreme Court while she was doing an externship for Judge Mary Tabor. She also read a history of the Iowa Court of Appeals done by Judge Richard Doyle for Drake University and was interested by the issue.

Messamer began writing her study in the fall of 2011 and finished it this past spring. She did some revisions during the summer and it was published in the first volume of the Law Review this school year.

The University of Iowa News Service did a profile of Messamer and her work. In her study, Messamer discovered that Iowa has had only two female justices in its history — Linda Neuman, from 1986 to 2003, and Marcia Ternus, from 1993 to 2010.

Idaho is the only other state in the nation with an all-male supreme court. Indiana recently had a female justice join its supreme court, Messamer said.

Iowa has the Judicial Nominating Commission that reviews and nominates supreme court candidates to the governor to fill judicial vacancies. The governor selects half of the members of the Judicial Nominating Commission while the Iowa Bar Association fills the other half. The governor appoints lay people to the commission while the bar association appoints legal professionals, Messamer said.

During her study, Messamer found that from 1978 to 2011, only 21 percent of applicants for supreme court justice vacancies were women and only 10 percent of the nominating commission members during that time were women, the University of Iowa News Service reported.

Messamer makes some recommendations to redress the imbalance. She said awareness of the situation could be raised by state officials if they compared the number of female judges and justices and the number of women available for those positions and compare that to other states. Also, members of the Judicial Nominating Commission should be trained to be aware of their own potential biases. Finally, candidates should be evaluated based on their successes at each judicial level and how that could be applied for the position they are applying for, according to the University of Iowa News Service.

Messamer said she has had some positive feedback about her study.

“People have been nice about it,” she said. “People are happy that someone has done this research.”

There are women who are trying to get more female candidates for supreme court and federal court, she said.

Messamer said that about half of her law school class is composed of women. She said law school classes typically include between 40 and 45 percent women.

After she completes law school, Messamer said that she wants to work for Justice Thomas Waterman.

Messamer is a 2004 graduate of Oskaloosa High School. She earned her bachelors degree in marketing and political science from Texas Christian University in 2008.

——————

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Judge rules in favor of city in water board trustee removal

    August 1, 2014

  • Movie on the Barn set for Saturday OSKALOOSA — Bring you family to Caldwell Park Saturday night for Movie on the Barn.The Friends of Mahaska County Conservation and the Mahaska County Conservation Board are hosting the event that begins at 9 p.m. at Caldwell Park.Bring a blanket or la

    August 1, 2014

  • Farmers Market photo Aug. 3-9 is National Farmers Market Week WASHINGTON, D.C. — Through the signing of an official proclamation, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has declared Aug. 3 through 9, “National Farmers Market Week.” Throughout the week, USDA will celebrate our nation’s thousands of farmers markets

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cattlemen photo People flock to Sweet Corn Serenade food, fun OSKALOOSA — People flocked to the Oskaloosa city square Thursday to satisfy their craving for sweet corn at the annual Sweet Corn Serenade.Event organizers bought 213 dozen ears of corn to be soaked and roasted throughout the day. The Mahaska County

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Chalk the Walk at Osky Elementary OSKALOOSA — Residents of the Oskaloosa area will get a chance to showcase their artistic talents at a sidewalk chalk fundraiser for Operation Backpack of Mahaska County. William Penn University’s student-run radio station, 88.7 KIGC “The Kitchen,” an

    July 31, 2014

  • Stuff the Bus photo United Way stuffs the bus for Operation Backpack OSKALOOSA — United Way of Mahaska County staff stuffed a bus with donated school supplies Tuesday morning to benefit needy students around the county.This is the third year for the Stuff the Bus program that the United Way has sponsored.“It’s a schoo

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • MHP Blue Zones 1 MHP becomes Blue Zones-designated worksite

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Balloon photo 2 Balloons over Oskaloosa Care Center honor Paula Whipple OSKALOOSA — Red, white, green and yellow balloons filled the sky over the Oskaloosa Care Center Wednesday afternoon in honor of Paula Whipple.Whipple was an Oskaloosa Care Center certified nursing assistant who recently passed away. She had worked at

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • It's Sweet Corn Serenade time Thursday OSKALOOSA — This Thursday, starting at noon, come out to the town square for a nice meal, fun activities, vendors and live music. It's time for the Sweet Corn Serenade. The meal includes a hamburger and an ear of corn for $5. Extra corn can be purch

    July 30, 2014

  • City Band to close out Sweet Corn Serenade OSKALOOSA — The Oskaloosa City Band will perform on Thursday at 8 p.m. as the closing act for this year’s Sweet Corn Serenade. The Oskaloosa High School Cheer Squad will help kick off the concert as the band plays Oskaloosa’s Fight Song. The youngest

    July 30, 2014

Obituaries
Oskaloosa Shopper
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Photo reprints