Marsha Ternus was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1993 by Gov. Terry Branstad and was selected by her peers to serve as chief justice in 2006. As chief justice, she made the improvement of court oversight of child welfare cases a priority for the Iowa Judicial Branch and collaborated with Iowa Legal Aid to improve access to the courts by those who could not afford an attorney. Her term on the court expired on December 31, 2010. In 2012, she was awarded the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Before joining the Supreme Court, she worked in private law practice for 16 years with a Des Moines law firm. Marsha received her bachelor's degree with honors and high distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Iowa in 1972. She earned her law degree with honors, Order of the Coif, from Drake University Law School in 1977. While at Drake, Marsha served as editor-in-chief of the Drake Law Review. Her community involvement during this period included terms on the board of directors of the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross and on the board of directors of the Polk County Legal Aid Society.
Marsha K. Ternus
- Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize