Gerald F. Schroeder

Gerald F. Schroeder (born September 13, 1939) is a former American attorney and jurist who served as chief justice of the Idaho Supreme Court. He was appointed to the court in 1995 by Governor Phil Batt,[1] and was elected chief justice by his peers in 2004.[2] He served on the court for over a dozen years and retired in July 2007.[2]

Gerald Schroeder
Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court
In office
September 1, 2004 (2004-09-01) – July 31, 2007 (2007-07-31)
Preceded byLinda Copple Trout
Succeeded byDaniel Eismann
Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court
In office
January 20, 1995 (1995-01-20) – July 31, 2007 (2007-07-31)
Appointed byPhil Batt
Preceded byStephen Bistline
Succeeded byWarren Jones
Personal details
Born (1939-09-13) September 13, 1939 (age 81)
Boise, Idaho, U.S.
Alma materCollege of Idaho (BA)
Harvard University (JD)

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Boise, Idaho, Schroeder attended public schools in Caldwell, Idaho and Baker, Oregon, where he was salutatorian at Baker High School in 1957. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the College of Idaho in Caldwellin 1961, and initially planned on becoming a history professor. He took the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) on a whim and was accepted to lHarvard Law School, earning his J.D. in 1964.[2]


After graduating from law school, Schroeder returned to Idaho and worked for several firms in Boise for three years. He was then appointed a deputy U.S. attorney in 1967,[3] became a county probate judge in 1969, and a magistrate two years later. He became a state judge in 1975 in the fourth district (Boise), a position he held for two decades, until his appointment to the state supreme court in January 1995.[2] Schroeder retained his seat in 1996 and 2002, running unopposed in both statewide elections.[4][5]

As a district judge, Schroeder made headlines in 1987 as he ruled that the state lottery initiative, approved by voters the previous November, was unconstitutional.[6] His decision was upheld 4-1 by the state supreme court,[7] and resulted in an amendment to the state constitution. Voters approved that in November 1988,[8][9][10] and the lottery was launched in July 1989.[11]

Schroeder ordered the execution of double-murderer Keith Wells in 1992. Carried out in January 1994, it was Idaho's first execution in over 36 years and the tenth in state history.[12][13][14] He was among the officials that witnessed the execution by lethal injection at the Idaho State Correctional Institution.[2][13]


  1. ^ "Gov. Batt puts Schroeder on Supreme Court". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. January 21, 1995. p. B1.
  2. ^ a b c d e Boone, Rebecca (June 9, 2007). "After nearly 40 years, Idaho Chief Justice prepares to put down gavel". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Idaho-Washington. Associated Press. p. 5A.
  3. ^ "Boise attorney wins appointment". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. June 21, 1967. p. 9.
  4. ^ "Primary election results". State of Idaho. May 28, 1996. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  5. ^ "Primary election results". State of Idaho. May 28, 2002. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  6. ^ "Judge says lottery unconstitutional". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. March 27, 1987. p. 3.
  7. ^ "Lottery initiative declared illegal". Idahonian. Moscow. Associated Press. June 7, 1988. p. 1A.
  8. ^ "Idaho lottery passes". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. November 9, 1988. p. A1.
  9. ^ "Andrus seeks help to begin lottery". Idahonian. Moscow. Associated Press. November 11, 1988. p. 1A.
  10. ^ "Idaho's lottery startup growing near". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. June 9, 1989. p. B8.
  11. ^ "Idaho lottery a big hit on its first day". Idahonian. Moscow. Associated Press. July 20, 1989. p. 10A.
  12. ^ Fick, Bob (January 6, 1994). "Killer put to death in Idaho's first execution in 36 years". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Idaho-Washington. Associated Press. p. 1A.
  13. ^ a b Miller, Dean (January 7, 1994). "Murderer died a silent death, watched by silent witnesses". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. B3.
  14. ^ "Man receives death sentence for two bludgeoning murders". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. April 8, 1992. p. B2.
Political offices
Preceded by
Linda Copple Trout
Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court
Succeeded by
Daniel Eismann