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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Donald P. Lay Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1958-2004
Creator: Lay, Donald Pomeroy (1926-2007)
Extent: 4.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0858
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Speeches, articles, and correspondence of a judge of the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information

Acquisition: This collection was given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Donald Lay in 2007.

Preferred Citation: Donald P. Lay Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Donald Pomeroy Lay was born in Princeton, Illinois in 1926. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy, 1945 -- 1946. He received his BA in a combined curriculum in Liberal Arts and Law in 1949 and a J.D. in 1951, both from the University of Iowa. He practiced law in Omaha from 1951 to 1966 at which time he was appointed for life to the United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, by President Johnson. At the age of thirty-nine, he was the second youngest person ever appointed to the Court of Appeals. His appointment was also unusual because the usual route to a position on the Court of Appeals is through a trial court, but that was not the case with Lay. He became chief judge of the Eighth Circuit Court in 1980, a position that he held for twelve years. He retired in 1992.
During his time on the court, Lay streamlined and modernized the Eighth Circuit's administrative system and founded the Eighth Circuit Historical Society to preserve the court's history. Known as a liberal, he worked to make the courts accessible to all citizens regardless of race, gender, or social class. He supported free choice in abortion cases and denounced the death penalty.
Lay made his influence felt not only through the cases he tried -- he taught at several law schools and won numerous awards. He wrote thousands of opinions and dissents, and many articles and speeches.

Texts of over one hundred articles and speeches of Donald P. Lay. The speeches were assigned numbers by his office staff. These numbers have been retained and the articles and speeches are filed in numeric order. There are some unassigned numbers. Also included in the collection is Judge Lay's correspondence, mostly with other judges.
UI Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award

"Presentation of the Portrait of the Honorable Donald P. Lay." West's Federal Reports, Second Series, Volume 979 F.2d. St. Paul, Minnesota, 1993.

"Tribute." William Mitchell Law Review, Vol.1:No.3 (Summer, 1992), p. 555 - 593.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Correspondence
  • Arnold, Judge Morris
  • Arnold, Judge Richard
  • Bright, Judge Myron
  • Gibson, Judge John R
  • Heaney, Judge Gerald W
  • Henley, Judge J. Smith
  • Judges Johnsen, Matthes, Mehaffey, Stephenson, Van Oosterhout, and Vogel
  • Loken, Judge James B.
  • MacMillan, Judge Theodore
  • Miscellaneous correspondence with personnel at the Supreme Court
  • Miscellaneous personal correspondence
  • Miscellaneous U.S. Circuit Court Judges
  • Murphy, Judge Diana
  • Ross, Judge Donald R.
  • Smith, Judge Talbot
  • State and District Court Judges
  • Weinstein, Jack B.
  • Wollman, Judge Roger L.
  • Box 2:
  • Articles about Lay
  • Biographical Materials
  • List of articles, speeches, and law reviews
  • Articles, speeches, and law reviews, by Donald P. Lay unless otherwise noted
  • " Medico-Legal Problems of the Trial Lawyer." MACA Bulletin,  page 42 - 1961
  • "Habeas Corpus Reform in Capital Cases." Statements before Senate Judiciary Committee by Judge Lay, November 8 - 1989
  • "Habeas Corpus Reform in Capital Cases." Statements before the House of Representatives by Judge Lay, May 24 - 1990
  • "On Proposal for Creation of a National Court of Appeals"
  • "States' Rights: The Emergence of a New Judicial Perspective" South Dakota Law Review, Winter - 1977
  •  "Alternatives to the Local Jail." Printed in Informant, March - 1977
  • "Recent Developments in Federal-State Cases." Speech given at Iowa Judges' Conference, December 8 - 1989
  • "A Judicial Mandate.", Handbook for Judges published by American Judicature Society, page 201 - 1975
  •  "The Trial on Appeal." Speech delivered at International Society of Barristers, International Society of Barristers Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 2, p.195, April - 1978
  •  "A Challenge to the Law Student" Creighton Law School Bulletin, May - 1978
  • "The Law and Its Credibility Gap.", Trial Magazine, August-September, page 37 - 1969
  •  "Beyond Prisons." Law Day Speech to Linn County Bar Association, Cedar Rapids,  Iowa - 1975
  •  "A Challenge to the Graduate."  Speech delivered at time new attorneys are admitted to the bar
  •  "Religion and the Law." Layman's Message, First Methodist Church of Omaha, January  - 1970
  • "The Why of Federal Judicial Intervention in State Correctional Institutions." Prepared for issue of Corrections Today, May-June - 1979
  •  "Comments on the Recommendations Made by the Committee to Consider Standards for Admission to Practice in the Federal Courts." Delivered to meeting of Committee in Kansas City, Missouri, April  - 1979
  •  "American Patent Bar Association." Address delivered to the patent bar
  • Stanley Truhlsen Award Speech - 1989
  • "Discovery Practice in Wisconsin.", Wisconsin Law Review, p. 428, May - 1954
  • Waiver of Oral Argument 
  • "What Not to Learn From the British System.", The Judges Journal, Summer - 1977
  • Section 1983 In the Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit 
  • "Supreme Court Seminar." Written by Syllabus Magazine and sent to Mrs. Sandy Boyd
  •  Dedication to Michael Pieplow in South Dakota Law Review
  • "A Trial Lawyer Speaks to the Investigator." The Practical Lawyer, Vol. 2, No. 1, January - 1956
  • "The Preparation and Trial of a Personal Injury Case." Outline only
  • "The Appellate Court Looks at the Administrative Judge" 
  •  "Federal District Court Review in Social Security Cases" 
  • "The Trial: A Human Process" 
  •  Opening Remarks 8th Circuit Judges Conference - 1989
  •  "Preparing Your Case for Trial." Lawyers Encyclopedia, Prentice Hall, p 909 - 1963
  • "The Brethren." (Book Review) Published in Omaha World Herald, Magazine Section, January 13th - 1980
  •  "The Eighth Circuit -A Look Ahead." Creighton Law Review, Vol 13, No. 4 - 1980
  • "Suing for Damages Because of Injury to Another." The Practical Lawyer, Vol 5, No. 6, p. 65, October - 1959
  •  Voir Dire - Jury 
  •  "In a Fair Adversary System the Lawyer Should Conduct the Voir Dire Examination of the Jury." The Judges Journal, Vol 13, No. 3 (July 197) p. 63
  • Commencement Address University of North Dakota, October - 1969
  •  "Some Comments on the Devitt Report" International Society of Barristers, Vol. 14, No. 3, July - 1979
  •  Hancher-Finkbine Medallion Award-Speech given at April 1980 Banquet at Iowa City, published in Iowa Advocate, p. 15
  • Talbot Smith Memoriam - Speech given at Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, Detroit 1979, published in Michigan Law Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 13, No. 2, p. 225, Winter - 1980
  •  "The Federal Appeals Process Whither We Goest? The Next Fifty Years."William Mitchell Law Review, March - 1989
  •  "A Proposal for Discretionary Review in Federal Courts of Appeal" 34 S.W. Law Journal, Vol. 34, p. 1151-1158, February - 1981
  • "How to Putt on Wet Greens." Speech delivered at Barristers Convention in Hawaii ; published in International Society of Barristers Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 3, page 321, January - 1981
  •  "The Crisis in Appellate Advocacy." Speech delivered at Barristers convention in Hawaii, published in International Society of Barristers Quarterly, Vol. 16. No. 3, page 321, January - 1981
  •  "Appellate Advocacy: It's Significance for Both Judge and Lawyer." Speech given at Arkansas Bar Association 1973; published in Arkansas Lawyer, p. 56, March - 1973
  • "A Judge's Observations on Effective Oral Argument." Nebraska Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Omaha  - 1976
  • Law Day - 1975
  • "A Recent Decision Involving Omnibus Coverage." Insurance Counsel Journal, pg. 98, April - 1954
  •  "How Old Are You-Mr. Insured?." Insurance Counsel Journal, p. 40, January - 1953
  •  "Double Recovery for Medical Payments by Personal Injury Claimant."Insurance Counsel Journal, p. 461, October - 1954
  •  "Mapping the Trial-Order of Proof."American Jury Trials, Vol. 5 - 1966
  •  "The Law of Evidence: The Basic Discipline for the Legal Mind." University of Iowa Evidence Causes. Iowa Advocate, Vol.Xno. 3, p. 3, January - 1972
  •  "Abandon the Adversary System?--Humbug!" International Society of Barristers - 1976
  • "Strains on the Quality of the Judicial Process." International Society of Barristers, Vol 9:No. 2, p. 5, April - 1974
  • "Dissent and Order: Can They Co-Exist?" International Society of Barristers 1972; Vol 7:No. 3, p.8, July - 1972
  •  "Modern Administrative Proposals for Federal Habeas Corpus, Prisoners Rights." Reprint from DePaul Law Review Vol XXI, No. 3, p. 701. Spring - 1972
  •  "Reconciling Tradition with Reality-The Expedited Appeal." Reprinted from UCLA Law Review Vol. 23:No. 3, p 419. February - 1976
  •  "Why Rush to Judgment? Some Second Thoughts on National Court of Appeals."Judicature Journal Vol. 59:No. 4, p. 172. November  - 1975
  • "Law and Order: Due Process of Law 1968." Speech delivered before the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; published in Trial Lawyers Forum. January, February  - 1969
  •  "Effective Advocacy: The American or British System?"
  • Post Conviction Remedies and the Overburdened Judiciary: Solutions Ahead." Creighton Law Review Vol 3, p. 5 - 1970
  • Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference Opening Remarks - 1981
  • "Problems in Federal Habeas Corpus Involving State Prisoners" 45 Federal Rules Decisions, p. 45-67
  • "The Use of Real Evidence."Nebraska Law Review, Vol. 37:No. 3, p. 501. May - 1958
  •  "Corrections and the Courts: A Plea for Understanding and Implementation." Resolution Magazine Vol. 1:No. 1, p. 5. - 1974
  •  "Dedication to Robert Van Pelt."Nebraska Law Review, Vol. 49:No. 3, p. 507. March - 1970
  •  "Some Observations from the Bench." Speech delivered to National Association of Law Reviews, Washburn University, Topeka - 1981
  •  Minnesota Law Review Banquet - Eleanor Roosevelt-BackStory-Writ of Winchester
  • Vestal Memorial Service Eulogy , 70 Iowa L. Rev. 1-3, October - 1984
  • "The Courts, The Boards, The Arbitrators--The Need for Consistency in Adjudicating Labor Disputes" 
  •  "Opinions and Expert Testimony." Evidence seminar at the University of Iowa College of Law - 1977
  •  Commencement Address William Mitchell College of Law - 1985
  • "A Brief Oral History on the Writ of Habeas Corpus." Law Review banquet - 1985
  •  Opinions and Expert Testimony."University of South Dakota College of Law Evidence Seminar - 1989
  • "The Bail Reform Act of 1984."  Speech and Law Review Article-Assisted by Jill DeLaHunt. Also Vol. 11 William Mitchell Law Review, p. 929-966
  •  Memorial Day Program, Omaha Bar Association - 1967
  • Naturalization Speech, Omaha, July 4th - 1986
  •  "Miracle at Philadelphia." Regarding the bicentennial of the Constitution
  • "Zen and the Art of Trial Lawyering." International Society of Barristers, Hawaii; published in Vol. 29, p. 32-37. January - 1984
  •  "Plaintiffs Practical Uses of Discovery Techniques." Practical Lawyer Vol. 9:No. 8, p. 43. December - 1963
  •  "Religion and the Law"
  • "The Constitution--Was It a Failure?" Regarding the bicentennial of the Constitution 
  • Colorado Bar Association. Regarding the bicentennial of the Constitution - 1987
  •  Bicentennial Celebration at Burlington, Iowa - 1987
  • Tenth Circuit Judicial Conference Remarks. Regardomg the bicentennial of the Constitution. July - 1987
  •  "Can Our Jury System Survive?"Trial Magazine, Vol. 50:No. 6. September. - 1983
  • "Rehabilitating the Criminal--A Judicial Mandate."Trial Magazine, p. 14. November-December - 1971
  • Box 3:
  •  "The Game that Time and Iowa Forgot." Letter to Time Magazine - 1986
  •  "Courts, Cameras, Justice?" Interview with Viewpoint - 1984
  •  "Reflections on Appellate Judging After 20 Years." Article to Minnesota Defense - 1986
  •  "Blueprints for Judicial Management in 8th Circuit." Third Branch Interview - 1985
  •  Letter of Judge J.A.C. Kennedy (Confidential)
  •  "Juror Interrogation.", Letter to the Editor by Judge Lay in Docket magazine - 1990
  •  Introduction of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at William Mitchell Dedication by Judge Lay on September 16th - 1990
  •  "A Brief Oral History on the Writ of Habeas Corpus." Law Review Banquet at University of South Dakota, April 5th - 1990
  •  "One Judge's Personal Perspective on Law in the Great Plains." Speech at Great Plains Annual Symposium, March - 1991
  • Outline on Written Appellate Advocacy, given at Indian Law Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 4th - 1991
  •  Bill of Rights Speech, given at Law Day in Omaha, May 1st - 1991
  • "Leo Eisenstatt - My Friend & Partner"
  • Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference Remarks at Colorado Springs - 1991
  • Judge Arnold's remarks on January 6, 1992 in en banc court regarding Judge Lay taking senior status
  •  Press release on Judge Lay taking senior status
  • "Where the Action Really Is."Appellate Judges Seminar
  • Judge Richard Robinson Memorial, April 24th - 1992
  • Earl Larson - 80th Birthday Party Dedication 
  • Resolution of Senior Status of Donald P. Lay, by Judge Myron Bright given at 8th Circuit Judicial Conference  - 1992
  •  Schmidt Law Library Dedication. Remarks by Donald P. Lay
  • Introduction of Justice Harry Blackmun at Minnesota Bar Association dinner, January - 1993
  • Albert W. Quambusch Eulogy
  • "Ways of a Trial Lawyer." Speech at the Iowa Law Review Banquet on April 3rd - 1993
  • Commencement Address at the University of Iowa on May 15th - 1993
  •  "Can Janet Reno Bust the War on Drugs?"Rolling StoneMagazine. DPL quoted in story
  •  "Our Justice System, So-Called."New York Times, October. Also speech given at the Minneapolis Pretrial Services Annual Meeting, September - 1990
  • "The Writ of Habeas Corpus: A Complex Procedure for a Simple Process." Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 77:No. 5. May - 1993
  • A Tribute to Chief Judge Richard S. Arnold. Minnesota Law Review
  •  "Red Mass." Remarks at 43rd Annual Red Mass, Chapel of the University of St. Thomas, October 10 - 1993
  •  "Catania v. Martin Case." Addendum to story in the Omaha Bar Association Newsletter
  • "How Courts Govern America." by Richard Neeley, reviewed by Judge Lay. Cardozo Law Review - 1982
  • ."A Blueprint for Judicial Management." Creighton Law Review, Vol. 17 (1983-84), p. 1047-1067 
  •  Introduction page written by Judge Lay. Creighton Law Review - 1987
  •  "The Constitution, The Supreme Court, and Mr. Meese: Habeas Corpus and the Doctrine of Original Intent." Detroit Law Review, Winter  - 1986
  •  "Dedication to Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the Occasion of His 25th Year as a Federal Judge" Hamline Law Review, p. 2-26. January - 1985
  •  "Exhaustion of Grievance Procedures for State Prisoners Under Section 1997e of the Civil Rights Act." Iowa Law Review, Vol. 7 - 1986
  • "Observations of 25 Years as a U.S. Circuit Judge." William Mitchell Law Review - 1992
  • Commentary on Professor Dan Freed's article on sentencing guidelines. Yale Law Journal - 1992
  • "The Application of State Law and State Court Jurisdiction Over Offenses Committed by Indians."
  • Princeton Class Reunion (50th), September  - 1994
  •  "William Webster." Profile in the Law School Magazine, with quotes from Judge Lay
  •  Remarks by Donald P. Lay at Judge Diana Murphy's investiture, November 28 - 1994
  •  "Zach C. Miller - Friendship, Humility and the Cheshire Cat." Remembering Stephen Lay, November - 1994
  • "A Response To My Good and Dear Friend, Victor Kramer." Article about the value of oral argument.
  •  "Flying At Perfect Speed." Speech given at Dean James Hogg's retirement; and Tribute to Dean James F. Hogg.  William Mitchell Law Review
  •  Warren Burger Tribute.  William Mitchell Law Review. Fall - 1995
  • Naturalization Ceremonies
  • Roland Nordlund Eulogy
  •  "The Art of Communication." William Mitchell Law Review Banquet - 1996
  • Stanley Siegel Eulogy. May - 1996
  • "The Judge Will Work That One More Hour" William Mitchell Magazine. Summer - 1996
  • "History of Iowa Law School." Article sent to Sandy Boyd
  •  "Tribute to Judge Gerald Heaney,." Minnesota Law Review
  •  Article by Lay about Second Circuit. Federal Bar Council Newsletter
  • Forward. Creighton Law Review. January - 1999
  • List of important opinions written by Judge Lay
  •  "Profile of Judge Donald P. Lay." By Bill Egan Jr. for the Federal Lawyer Magazine
  •  "Blackmun, Justice Harry."Resolution presented by Lay at 8th Circuit Judicial Conference
  • Judge Theodore McMillian Tribute. St. Louis University Law Journal - 1999
  •  "Law & Religion." Speech given at Macalister College, with Professor Russell Pannier. October - 1999
  • Tribute to Bill Flaskamp, November - 1999
  • Memorial for Justice Robert Smith, November  - 1999
  • Eulogy for Kenneth Johnson, November - 1999
  • "The Honorable John Sanborn." Remarks by Judge Lay and Tom Boyd at portrait unveiling. on November 16th - 2000
  • Judy Anderson's 50th Birthday Party. Remarks by Judge Lay, November 13th - 2000
  • "Nebraska Lawyer." Nebraska Lawyer. November - 2000
  •  "St. Thomas Law School." Article to the paper by Judge Lay, January - 2001
  • "Ode to Si & Jane Mathiasen." Ode by Judge Lay on their 50th anniversary
  •  Letter to New York Times regarding Judicial Vacancies
  •  "Visiting Judges in the Federal Courts." The Third Branch. Lay is quoted
  •  Comment on Roger Park's book entitled Trial Objections Handbook
  • Summation Article for William Mitchell Magazine
  • Stanley DeLaHung Memorial
  •  Judge Bright's comments at William Mitchell Scholarship reception for Lay, May  - 2002
  • Commencement Address. William Mitchell, May 19 - 2002
  • Floyd Gibson Memorial. April  - 2002
  • "A Dream Faculty." Iowa Advocate , July - 2002
  •  "Judges Who Differ with Scalia on Death Penalty." Star Tribune July 27 - 2002
  • George L. DeLacy Memorial
  •  "Duke University Moot Court." Speech 
  • Statement of Lay before Subcommittee on Improvements in Judicial Machinery of the Committee on the Judiciary, July - 1967
  • Omaha Bar Association Memorial Day Program, May - 1967
  •  Iowa Law Review Banquet  - 1969
  •  Statement of Social Concern, October  - 1968
  • Statement to the Commission on Revision of the Federal Court Appellate system
  • "Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Minnesota." January, Sent to Judge Robert Sheran - 2003
  • "After Iowa." Part of interview with Judge Lay. Iowa Alumni Magazine
  •  "Open Letter to Boy Scouts" February  - 2003
  • McMillian, Judge -Portrait Ceremony. Remarks by Lay
  •  Legal Pioneer Award to Lay from the Nebraska State Bar Foundation, April  - 2004
  •  Robert Tucker Resolution
  • "Rehab Justice." New York Times Op-Ed article
  •  National Drug Courts Article

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Lay, Donald P., 1926-2007

Corporate Names:
United States. Circuit Court (8th Circuit)


Geographic Names:
United States -- Midwest

Genre/Form of Materials:
Clippings (Information artifacts)
Reviews (Document genre)