Judge Cady: A legacy honored by the state of Iowa


Jean Dickson

The program from Judge Cady's funeral on Nov. 20. The death of the judge was honored by several Iowans.

Maddy Licea, Editor in Chief

The Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, Judge Mark Cady, died unexpectedly on Nov. 14, leaving behind a lifelong legacy.

Family of the late judge told AP News, “The state lost a great man, husband, father, grandfatherand jurist.” 

Judge Cady left his mark on the court after making many monumental decisions throughout his time on the Iowa Supreme Court. Serving for 21 years, Cady had witnessed many rulings that have changed society. Governor Reynolds was also quoted saying, “He loved the law, the judiciary, and the state we call home. He leaves behind a legacy of service and dedication that we should never forget,” she said.

Writing the unaminous decision on same sex marriage, Cady was a   key factorin the 2009 legalization. Along with the legalization of gay marriage, Cady was a key swing vote while ruling Govenor Kim Reynolds’s abortion law as unconstitutional. 

Cady will be remembered for his work serving the state of Iowa not only as Chief Justice, but also as President of Chief Justices and member of the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors.

His service will hold a strong legacy and will be remembered by many in the legal community. Local attorney Jean Dickson emphasized her admiration of Justice Cady, “I served on [statewide judicial nominating] commission with him for several years,” she said. “ I also had the opportunity over the years to argue multiple cases in front of him as a lawyer. He was one of the kindest, most compassionate judges of whom I have ever appeared in front.”

Dickson also discussed Justice Cady’s character outside of the courts, “When I ran into him outside the courtroom, he always took the time to ask me about Claire and Jimmy, and how my career was going,” she said.

While Cady’s legacy will be missed, his spot now remains open on the Iowa Supreme Court, leaving big shoes to fill. Not only will Governor Reynolds be able to appoint a new justice, but, along with the Iowa Senate, she will also be able to vote on a new Chief Justice. 

Reynolds has already been able to appoint a new justice, with her next pick having the potential to shift the Iowa Supreme court in a very conservative direction. While it is a judge’s duty to remain unbiased, it is human nature to have a political opinion way or another. 

Government teacher Sara Russell commented on her thoughts on Judge Cady’s death, “The death of Chief Justice Cady is a huge loss to both the Iowa Supreme Court and our state as a whole,” she said. “ It will also further change the make-up of the Supreme Court as Governor Reynolds will have the opportunity to appoint a new justice, making the court even more conservative.” 

Governor Reynold’s taking charge of the next appointee nearly guarantees a conservative pick. The Des Moines Register even reported how she has turned a swing state court into a heavily conservative body. 

“The loss of his leadership will inevitably change the direction of the courts, but I also think his calm, deliberate nature will have left a footprint with the court for many years to come,” she said.

No matter who replaces Judge Cady, one thing remains true, his legacy will forever be valued by the state of Iowa.