Justice Matthew McDermott traces his route to the Iowa Supreme Court in podcast interview

by Rox Laird | December 30, 2020

In a new “In the Balance” podcast, Justice Matthew McDermott, the newest member of the Iowa Supreme Court, talks about growing up in Carroll, Iowa, attending law school in California, and his path from a trial lawyer to the pinnacle of Iowa’s judiciary.

The podcast, one in a series of monthly reports on the Iowa courts produced by Iowa Judicial Branch Public Information Assistant Marissa Gaal, is the third interview with a member of the Court. Chief Justice Susan Christensen and Justice Edward Mansfield were previously interviewed.

McDermott was appointed to the Court in April by Gov. Kim Reynolds following the retirement of Justice David Wiggins.

In addition to tracing his route to the Court, McDermott talks about his role as co-chair of the Judicial Branch jury trials task force that made recommendations to the Court on keeping Iowa courts in operation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jury trials had been halted when he joined the Court in April and the task force recommended when and how jury trials should resume.

“There’s a lot to think about in doing that,” McDermott said. “Obviously, on the one hand you’re trying to balance the constitutional rights that people have to swift jury trials, swift justice, but also recognizing that when you have a jury trial, members of your jury are not always coming because they want to be there voluntarily. They’re being called to jury service. So, you want to make sure that the parties have fair trials, having justice delivered in a timely fashion, while at the same time recognizing that you have to provide for the safety of the participants.”

This and previous episodes of “In the Balance” are posted on iTunes, Spotify, and on the Judicial Branch website, www.iowacourts.gov.





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February 2024 Opinion Roundup

The Iowa Supreme Court entered opinions in eighteen cases during February 2024. You can read Rox Laird’s analysis of Singh v. McDermott, Selden v. DMACC, and Senator Roby Smith et al. v. Iowa District Court for Polk County. The remaining opinions from February are summarized here.


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