Donald P. Lay

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Donald Pomery Lay
Chief Judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
In office
Preceded by Floyd Robert Gibson
Succeeded by Richard Sheppard Arnold
Judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
In office
Nominated by Lyndon Johnson
Preceded by Harvey M. Johnsen
Succeeded by Morris Sheppard Arnold
Personal details
Born August 24, 1926
Princeton, Illinois
Died April 29, 2007
North Oaks, Minnesota
Spouse(s) Miriam

Donald Pomery Lay (August 24, 1926 – April 29, 2007) was an American jurist who served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit for 40 years, including as chief judge from 1979 to 1982.

Born in Princeton, Illinois, Lay was injured playing football while attending the United States Naval Academy, which ended his plans for military service. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa in 1949 and received his law degree in 1951. After working as a trial lawyer in Milwaukee and Omaha, he was appointed to the Eighth Circuit at age 39 by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

One of his most notable rulings was Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co., a landmark sexual harassment case that was the subject of the 2005 film North Country. The Supreme Court of the United States agreed with his 1971 dissent on behalf of two Iowa convicts whose parole was revoked without trial in Morrissey v. Brewer and his dissent in Jaycees v. McClure, which compelled the Jaycees to admit women.

Lay dissented in United States v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency, a case that still stands, upholding the civil forfeiture of properties possibly connected to drugs.

From 1995 to 2001, he served as a full-time visiting faculty member at William Mitchell College of Law. He died at his home in North Oaks, Minnesota.[1]


  1. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (May 2, 2007). Donald P. Lay, 80, Federal Judge Notable in Rights Cases, Dies. New York Times


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