Court names interim chief justice

Iowa Supreme Court Justicfe Mark Cady will serve as the interim chief justice.  The current chief justice, Marsha Ternus, was voted off the court last month, along with two other justices, in a judicial retention election that largely hinged on voter dissatisfaction with the court’s Varnum v Brien decision in April of 2009 which paved the way for gay marriage in Iowa.  Cady was the justice who wrote that unanimous opinion.

Cady was appointed an associate district court judge by then-Governor Terry Branstad in 1983 and then elevated by Branstad to serve as a district court judge in 1986.  Branstad appointed Cady to the state’s highest court during his fourth term as governor.

Cady is the senior judge among the four who remain on the court.  The court’s announcement this afternoon does not indicate who will replace Cady on the Judicial Nominating Commission.  The senior judge on the court — who is not the chief justice — serves on that panel.

Cady’s current term on the court expires on December 31, 2016. 

Read the court’s announcement:

Justice Cady to Serve as Chief Justice While Court Awaits New Members

 Des Moines, December 2, 2010— The Iowa Supreme Court has selected Justice Mark S. Cady, Ft. Dodge, to serve as chief justice, beginning January 1, 2011. Justice Cady was appointed to the court by Governor Terry Branstad in 1998. He replaces Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, whose term expires December 31, 2010. Once three new justices are selected to replace Chief Justice Ternus, Justice Michael Streit, and Justice David Baker, and assume their duties, the court will hold another vote for chief justice to allow the new justices to participate in the selection.

“Once I assume the duties of chief justice in January, my foremost concern will be to do all I can to support the work of Iowa’s high caliber court system and to expand the public’s access to justice,” said Justice Cady. “I look forward to working with Governor Branstad and the legislature on these and other matters affecting the administration of justice.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.