Skip navigation

The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Papers of Donald P. Lay
MsC 858
1958 -- 2004

4.5 ft.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Acquisition and Processing Information: This collection was given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Donald Layin 2007.

Photographs: None


Judge Donal P. Lay Portrait

Scope and Contents

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.


Biographical Note

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's 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.

J Roethler 2/2007 Some of this biographical information was taken from The University of Iowa Alumni Association web site.

Related Materials

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

Box Contents List

Box 1


Arnold, Judge Morris

Arnold, Judge Richard

Bright, Judge Myron

Gibson, Judge Floyd

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

1." Medico-Legal Problems of the Trial Lawyer." MACA Bulletin,  page 42 (1961)

2. "Habeas Corpus Reform in Capital Cases." Statements before Senate Judiciary Committee by Judge Lay, November 8, 1989

2-A. "Habeas Corpus Reform in Capital Cases." Statements before the House of Representatives by Judge Lay, May 24, 1990

3. "On Proposal for Creation of a National Court of Appeals"

4. "States' Rights: The Emergence of a New Judicial Perspective"   South Dakota Law Review, (Winter 1977)

5. "Alternatives to the Local Jail." Printed in Informant,March 1977

6. "Recent Developments in Federal-State Cases." Speech given at Iowa Judges' Conference, December 8, 1989

7. "A Judicial Mandate.", Handbook for Judges published by American Judicature Society 1975, page 201

8. "The Trial on Appeal." Speech delivered at International Society of Barristers 1978. International Society of Barristers Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 2 (April 1978), p.195,

9. "A Challenge to the Law Student. Creighton Law School Bulletin, May 1978

10. "The Law and Its Credibility Gap." Trial Magazine, August-September 1969, page 37

11. "Beyond Prisons." Law Day Speech to Linn County Bar Association, Cedar Rapids,  Iowa, 1975

12. "A Challenge to the Graduate."  Speech delivered at time new attorneys are admitted to the bar

13. "Religion and the Law." Layman's Message, First Methodist Church of Omaha, January 1970

15. "The Why of Federal Judicial Intervention in State Correctional Institutions." Prepared for issue of Corrections Today, May-June 1979

16. "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

17. "American Patent Bar Association." Address delivered to the patent bar

18. Stanley Truhlsen Award Speech 1989

19. "Discovery Practice in Wisconsin." Wisconsin Law Review, May 1954, p. 428

20. Waiver of Oral Argument

23. "What Not to Learn From the British System." The Judges Journal, Summer 1977

24. Section 1983 In the Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit

26. "Supreme Court Seminar." Written by Syllabus Magazine and sent to Mrs. Sandy Boyd

27. Dedication to Michael Pieplow in South Dakota Law Review

28. "A Trial Lawyer Speaks to the Investigator." The Practical Lawyer, Vol. 2, No. 1, January 1956

29. "The Preparation and Trial of a Personal Injury Case." Outline only

30. "The Appellate Court Looks at the Administrative Judge"

31. "Federal District Court Review in Social Security Cases"

33. "The Trial: A Human Process"

34. Opening Remarks 8th Circuit Judges Conference, 1989

35. "Preparing Your Case for Trial." Lawyers Encyclopedia, 1963.Prentice Hall, p. 909

36. "The Brethren." (Book Review) Published in Omaha World Herald, Magazine Section, January 13, 1980

37. "The Eighth Circuit -A Look Ahead." Creighton Law Review, Vol. 13, No. 4 (1980)

38. "Suing for Damages Because of Injury to Another." The Practical Lawyer, October 1959, Vol 5, No. 6, p. 65

39. Voir Dire - Jury

40. "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

41. Commencement Address University of North Dakota, October 1969

42. "Some Comments on the Devitt Report" International Society of Barristers,  Vol. 14, No. 3, (July 1979)

43. Hancher-Finkbine Medallion Award-Speech given at April 1980 Banquet at Iowa City, published in Iowa Advocate, p. 15

44. Talbot Smith Memoriam - Speech given at Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, Detroit 1979, published in Michigan Law Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Winter 1980), p. 225

45. "The Federal Appeals Process Whither We Goest? The Next Fifty Years." William Mitchell Law Review, March 1989

46. "A Proposal for Discretionary Review in Federal Courts of Appeal" 34 S.W. Law Journal, Vol. 34 (February 1981), p. 1151-1158

47. "How to Putt on Wet Greens." Speech delivered at Barristers Convention in Hawaii, January 1981; published in International Society of Barristers Quarterly, Vol 16:No. 2, p. 266.

48. "The Crisis in Appellate Advocacy." Speech delivered at Barristers convention in Hawaii, January 1981, published in International Society of Barristers Quarterly, Vol 16, No. 3, page 321.

49. "Appellate Advocacy: It's Significance for Both Judge and Lawyer." Speech given at
Arkansas Bar Association 1973; published in Arkansas Lawyer March 1973, p. 56.

50. "A Judge's Observations on Effective Oral Argument." Nebraska Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Omaha 1976

51. Law Day 1975

52. "A Recent Decision Involving Omnibus Coverage." Insurance Counsel Journal, April 1954, p.98

53. "How Old Are You-Mr. Insured?." Insurance Counsel Journal, January 1953, p. 40.

54. "Double Recovery for Medical Payments by Personal Injury Claimant." Insurance Counsel Journal, October 1954, p.461.

55. "Mapping the Trial-Order of Proof." American Jury Trials, Vol. 5 (1966)

56. "The Law of Evidence: The Basic Discipline for the Legal Mind." University of Iowa Evidence Causes January 1972. Iowa Advocate, Vol. X:No. 3, p. 3.

57. "Abandon the Adversary System?--Humbug!" International Society of Barristers, 1976

58. "Strains on the Quality of the Judicial Process." International Society of Barristers, 1974 , Vol 9:No. 2 (April 1974), p. 5

59. "Dissent and Order: Can They Co-Exist?" International Society of Barristers 1972; Vol 7:No. 3 (July 1972), p. 8

60. "Modern Administrative Proposals for Federal Habeas Corpus, Prisoners Rights." Reprint from DePaul Law Review Vol XXI (Spring 1972), No. 3, p. 701

61. "Reconciling Tradition with Reality-The Expedited Appeal." Reprinted from UCLA Law Review Vol. 23:No. 3 (February 1976), p.419,

62. "Why Rush to Judgment? Some Second Thoughts on National Court of Appeals." Judicature Journal Vol. 59:No. 4 (November 1975), p. 172.

63. "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

64. "Effective Advocacy: The American or British System?"

65. Post Conviction Remedies and the Overburdened Judiciary: Solutions Ahead." Creighton Law Review Vol. 3 (1970), p. 5

66. Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference Opening Remarks. 1981

67. "Problems in Federal Habeas Corpus Involving State Prisoners" 45 Federal Rules Decisions p. 45 -- 67

68. "The Use of Real Evidence." Nebraska Law Review , Vol. 37:No. 3,(May 1958) p. 501

69. "Corrections and the Courts: A Plea for Understanding and Implementation." Resolution Magazine , Vol 1:No. 1 (1974), p. 5

70. "Dedication to Robert Van Pelt." Nebraska Law Review, Vol 49:No. 3 (March 1970), p. 507

71. "Some Observations from the Bench." Speech delivered to National Association of Law Reviews, Washburn University, Topeka, 1981

72. Minnesota Law Review Banquet - Eleanor Roosevelt-BackStory-Writ of Winchester

73. Vestal Memorial Service Eulogy , 70 Iowa L. Rev. 1-3, October 1984

75. "The Courts, The Boards, The Arbitrators--The Need for Consistency in Adjudicating Labor Disputes"

76. "Opinions and Expert Testimony." Evidence seminar at the University of Iowa College of Law, 1977

77. Commencement Address William Mitchell College of Law, 1985

78. "A Brief Oral History on the Writ of Habeas Corpus." Law Review banquet, 1985

"79. Opinions and Expert Testimony."University of South Dakota College of Law Evidence Seminar, 1989

80. "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

84. Memorial Day Program, Omaha Bar Association, 1967

85. Naturalization Speech, Omaha, July 4, 1986

86. "Miracle at Philadelphia." Regarding the bicentennial of the Constitution

87. "Zen and the Art of Trial Lawyering." International Society of Barristers, Hawaii January 1984; published in Vol. 29, p. 32 -- 37

88. "Plaintiffs Practical Uses of Discovery Techniques." Practical Lawyer Vol. 9: No. 8, p. 43, (December 1963)

89. "Religion and the Law"

90. "The Constitution--Was It a Failure?" Regarding the bicentennial of the Constitution

91. Colorado Bar Association. Regarding the bicentennial of the Constitution. 1987

92. Bicentennial Celebration at Burlington, Iowa, 1987

93. Tenth Circuit Judicial Conference Remarks. July 1987. Regarding the bicentennial of the Constitution

94. "Can Our Jury System Survive?" Trial Magazine, Vol. 50:No.6 (September 1983)

95. "Rehabilitating the Criminal--A Judicial Mandate." Trial Magazine, 1971 November-December 1971, p. 14

Box 3

96. "The Game that Time and Iowa Forgot." Letter to Time Magazine, 1986

97. "Courts, Cameras, Justice?" Interview with Viewpoint, 1984

98. "Reflections on Appellate Judging After 20 Years." Article to Minnesota Defense, 1986

99. "Blueprints for Judicial Management in 8th Circuit." Third Branch Interview, 1985

112. Letter of Judge J.A.C. Kennedy (Confidential)

128. "Juror Interrogation.", Letter to the Editor by Judge Lay in Docket magazine, 1990

130. Introduction of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at William Mitchell Dedication by Judge Lay on September 16, 1990.

131. "A Brief Oral History on the Writ of Habeas Corpus." Law Review Banquet at University of South Dakota, April 5, 1990.

132. "One Judge's Personal Perspective on Law in the Great Plains." Speech at Great Plains Annual Symposium, March 1991

133. Outline on Written Appellate Advocacy, given at Indian Law Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 4, 1991

134. Bill of Rights Speech, given at Law Day in Omaha, May 1, 1991

135. "Leo Eisenstatt - My Friend & Partner"

136. Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference Remarks, 1991, at Colorado Springs

137. Judge Arnold's remarks on January 6, 1992 in en banc court regarding Judge Lay taking senior status

138. Press release on Judge Lay taking senior status

139. "Where the Action Really Is."Appellate Judges Seminar

142. Judge Richard Robinson Memorial, April 24, 1992

144. Earl Larson - 80th Birthday Party Dedication

145. Resolution of Senior Status of Donald P. Lay, by Judge Myron Bright given at 8th Circuit Judicial Conference 1992

146. Schmidt Law Library Dedication. Remarks by Donald P. Lay

147. Introduction of Justice Harry Blackmun at Minnesota Bar Association dinner, January, 1993.

148. Albert W. Quambusch Eulogy

151. "Ways of a Trial Lawyer." Speech at the Iowa Law Review Banquet on April 3, 1993

152. Commencement Address at the University of Iowa on May 15, 1993

153. "Can Janet Reno Bust the War on Drugs?" Rolling Stone Magazine. DPL quoted in story

154. "Our Justice System, So-Called." New York Times , October 1990; also speech given at the Minneapolis Pretrial Services Annual Meeting, September 1990

155. "The Writ of Habeas Corpus: A Complex Procedure for a Simple Process." Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 77:No. 5, May 1993

156. A Tribute to Chief Judge Richard S. Arnold. Minnesota Law Review

157. "Red Mass." Remarks at 43rd Annual Red Mass, Chapel of the University of St. Thomas, October 10, 1993

158. "Catania v. Martin Case." Addendum to story in the Omaha Bar Association Newsletter

160. "How Courts Govern America." by Richard Neeley, reviewed by Judge Lay. Cardozo Law Review ,1982

161."A Blueprint for Judicial Management." Creighton Law Review, Vol. 17 (1983-84), p. 1047-1067

162. Introduction page written by Judge Lay. Creighton Law Review, 1987

163. "The Constitution, The Supreme Court, and Mr. Meese: Habeas Corpus and the Doctrine of Original Intent." Detroit Law Review, Winter 1986

164. "Dedication to Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the Occasion of His 25th Year as
a Federal Judge." Hamline Law Review, January 1985, p. 2 -- 26

165. "Exhaustion of Grievance Procedures for State Prisoners Under Section 1997e
of the Civil Rights Act." Iowa Law Review, Vol 7., 1986

166."Observations of 25 Years as a U.S. Circuit Judge." William Mitchell Law Review, 1992

167. Commentary on Professor Dan Freed's article on sentencing guidelines.Yale Law Journal, 1992

168. "The Application of State Law and State Court Jurisdiction Over Offenses Committed by Indians."

170. Princeton Class Reunion (50th), September 1994

171. "William Webster." Profile in the Law School Magazine, with quotes from Judge Lay

172. Remarks by Donald P. Lay at Judge Diana Murphy's investiture, November 28, 1994

173. "Zach C. Miller - Friendship, Humility and the Cheshire Cat." Remembering Stephen Lay, November 1994

177. "A Response To My Good and Dear Friend, Victor Kramer." Article about the value of oral argument.

178. "Flying At Perfect Speed." Speech given at Dean James Hogg's retirement; and Tribute to Dean James F. Hogg. William Mitchell Law Review

179. Warren Burger Tribute. William Mitchell Law Review, Fall 1995

180. Naturalization Ceremonies

181. Roland Nordlund Eulogy

182. "The Art of Communication." William Mitchell Law Review Banquet, 1996

183. Stanley Siegel Eulogy, May 1996

184. "The Judge Will Work That One More Hour" William Mitchell Magazine, Summer 1996

185. "History of Iowa Law School." Article sent to Sandy Boyd

186. "Tribute to Judge Gerald Heaney,." Minnesota Law Review

187. Article by Lay about Second Circuit. Federal Bar Council Newsletter

188. Forward. Creighton Law Review, January 1999

191. List of important opinions written by Judge Lay

192. "Profile of Judge Donald P. Lay." By Bill Egan Jr. for the Federal Lawyer Magazine

193. "Blackmun, Justice Harry."Resolution presented by Lay at 8th Circuit Judicial Conference

195. Judge Theodore McMillian Tribute. St. Louis University Law Journal ,1999

196. "Law & Religion." Speech given at Macalister College, October 1999, with Professor Russell Pannier

197. Tribute to Bill Flaskamp, November 1999

198. Memorial for Justice Robert Smith, November 1999

199. Eulogy for Kenneth Johnson, November 1999

200."The Honorable John Sanborn." Remarks by Judge Lay and Tom Boyd at portrait unveiling. on November 16, 2000

201. Judy Anderson's 50th Birthday Party. Remarks by Judge Lay, November 13, 2000

202. "Nebraska Lawyer." Nebraska Lawyer, November 2000

203. "St. Thomas Law School." Article to the paper by Judge Lay, January 2001

204. "Ode to Si & Jane Mathiasen." Ode by Judge Lay on their 50th anniversary

205. Letter to New York Times regarding Judicial Vacancies

206. "Visiting Judges in the Federal Courts." The Third Branch.  Lay is quoted

207. Comment on Roger Park's book entitled Trial Objections Handbook

210. Summation Article for William Mitchell Magazine

211. Stanley DeLaHunt Memorial

213. Judge Bright's comments at William Mitchell Scholarship reception for Lay, May 2002

214. Commencement Address. William Mitchell, May 19, 2002

215. Floyd Gibson Memorial. April 2002

216. "A Dream Faculty." Iowa Advocate , July 2002

217. "Judges Who Differ with Scalia on Death Penalty." Star Tribune July 27, 2002

218. George L. DeLacy Memorial

219. "Duke University Moot Court." Speech

220. Statement of Lay before Subcommittee on Improvements in Judicial Machinery of the Committee on the Judiciary, July 1967

221. Omaha Bar Association Memorial Day Program, May 1967

222. Iowa Law Review Banquet 1969

223. Statement of Social Concern, October 1968

224. Statement to the Commission on Revision of the Federal Court Appellate system

226. "Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Minnesota." January 2003, Sent to Judge Robert Sheran

228"After Iowa." Part of interview with Judge Lay. Iowa Alumni Magazine

229. "Open Letter to Boy Scouts" February 2003

230. McMillian, Judge -Portrait Ceremony. Remarks by Lay

231. Legal Pioneer Award to Lay from the Nebraska State Bar Foundation, April 2004

233. Robert Tucker Resolution

234. "Rehab Justice." New York Times Op-Ed article

235. National Drug Courts Article