February 21, 2017
- Born and raised in Waterloo
- Graduated from Waterloo West High School
- Went to the University of Colorado in Boulder
- Went to the University of Iowa to attain a business degree
- Moved to Chicago and continued his education at Loyola University, attaining a degree in industrial relations
- Gained his Masters degree in industrial relations from the University of Chicago
- Worked for a year in the hospital industry
- Worked then for 6 months with a fortune 500 company that no longer exists
- Graduated from law school
- Worked for a couple law firms in Cedar Falls
- Worked as an individual practitioner for 11 years
- Appointed to the district court bench of Waterloo/Cedar Falls area in 1999
- Elected by Governor Branstad to the Iowa Supreme Court, where he still works today
“I’m just so pleased to be a member of the Iowa Supreme Court.”
“You have to leave your ego at the door and you have to have thick skin with this position because you will be constantly criticized.” -when writing an opinion.
Everyone on the Supreme Court team looks at each other’s opinion and talks about it, sometimes argues about it. “I’m not there to get along with everyone or agree with everyone. I’m not just there to be silent, and I’m not saying that I’m always right, but I’ve always got to just say it- my opinion and thoughts.”
7 members of the Iowa Supreme Court
Each supreme court justice has an assigned seat in the conference room- where they discuss their case opinions. The most difficult cases to discuss tend to be juvenile oriented.
All of the cases that are going to be heard will be decided in a term period (Sept. 1 – June 30) so cases don’t take two summers to be resolved, or in other words, be carried over. Administrative term is July and August, where they take a break form deciding cases and do more administrative tasks and/or take vacations.
“We’re the final authority in what the law says, what the constitution says, so we don’t have to answer anybody. We’re not bound by what the U.S. Supreme Court says.”
“You have to stand up for yourself and what you believe in at some point.”
“I love debating and discussing things, but I don’t have to agree with you.”
Zager was the single opposing voice in a case regarding HIV, a case regarding a sexually violent predator.
“Juvenile sentences usually take a lot of effort and are thought provoking; they’re pretty interesting. Michelle Kehoe stood out incredibly because of the case circumstances as well as her insanity defense.”
“We are failing as people when it comes to mental health care. I think everyone has a certain degree of mental illness swirling around in their head somewhere.”