Study: Address gender diversity gap on Iowa court

Published On: Dec 04 2012 04:59:29 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 04 2012 04:59:00 AM CST
Iowa Capitol
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -

A study says Iowa should make changes to improve gender diversity in the judiciary after becoming one of three states with an all-male Supreme Court.

The study authored by University of Iowa law student Gina Messamer is published in the Iowa Law Review.

Messamer said in a press release Monday that Iowa's lack of female representation among its 7 justices is striking, when 31 percent of members of state high courts overall are female. Only Indiana and Idaho also feature all-male courts.

Messamer says Iowa's Judicial Nominating Commission should address what she calls subtle biases that work against female candidates.

When there were three openings on the high court last year, 8 of 9 finalists recommended by the commission to Gov. Terry Branstad were male. Branstad then appointed three men.