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Neuman, Linda Kinney, 1948-



  • Existence: 1948-


Linda Kinney Neuman, the first woman to serve on the Iowa Supreme Court, was born in Chicago in 1948. She was the oldest of three children; her father was a lawyer and her mother was a homemaker. Neuman's aunt, Circuit Judge Helen C. Kinney, was the first woman to serve on the bench in DuPage County, Illinois. Neuman's family moved to Denver in 1956 because her father took a position as a trustee at the Colorado National Bank. Neuman earned a BA from the University of Colorado in 1970, and a JD from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1973. She met Henry Neuman of Davenport, Iowa, in law school, and they were married in 1973. The Neumans moved to the Quad Cities so Henry Neuman could work in his father's law firm, and the couple settled in LeClaire, Iowa. They had two daughters: Emily, born in 1977, and Lindsey, born in 1981.

Neuman's first job was with her father-in-law's firm, and she and her husband were both named partners in 1977. After the birth of her first daughter, Neuman worked for a brief time as a trust officer at the Bettendorf Bank and Trust Company, and as an instructor at the University of Iowa. In 1980, she was appointed judicial magistrate for Scott County, a part-time position that dovetailed well with her parental responsibilities. (See "Court Structure" at the end of this section.)

Neuman had found her calling. She enjoyed being a judge, preferring the role of mediator to that of advocate. In 1982, she applied for an opening for district judge in Iowa's 7th district, and was appointed by Governor Robert Ray. She served with distinction and was encouraged to apply for an opening on the Iowa Supreme Court following the death of Justice Harvey Uhlenhopp in 1986. Neuman had strong support from the legal community, but she did not have much experience in politics; with assistance from Peg Anderson, however, Neuman quickly learned the political ropes. Neuman was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court by Governor Terry Branstad in 1986. She sought a newly-created seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8 th Circuit in 1991, but President George H.W. Bush did not appoint her. Neuman served on the Iowa Supreme Court until her retirement in 2003.

Neuman was highly respected in the legal community for her well-crafted and researched opinions, her application of the law, and her dedication to the judicial system. She was also active in many professional, civic, and church organizations including the American, Iowa, and Scott County Bar Associations, the National Association of Women Judges, the Iowa Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education, the Quad Cities United Way, the Marriage and Family Counseling Service of Scott and Rock Island Counties, and St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Neuman received the Award for Distinguished Achievement from the University of Colorado in 1989, and the Exceptional Achievement Award from the Mississippi Valley Girl Scout Council in 1988. When she retired, Neuman announced that she would teach a course on professional ethics at the University of Iowa.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Linda Kinney Neuman papers

Identifier: IWA0532

Served for over twenty years in the Iowa judiciary and was the first woman to be appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Dates: 1975-2018