New Chief Justice weighs in on future of courts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Chief Justice weighs in on future of courts


LINN COUNTY (KWWL)-- It's a hot topic in the Iowa House. Months after voting out Supreme Court justices following the legalization of same sex marriage-- the issue is on the front burner once again. On Wednesday, we talked to Chief Justice Mark Cady. Cady, who is from Fort Dodge, took over at the beginning of the year after Chief Justice Marsha Ternus was voted out of office. He will hold that position at least until the new justices are selected, then another vote will take place. We spoke with Chief Justice Cady Wednesday afternoon about the recent shake-up in the Supreme Court.

He says he regrets that three members of the court were dismissed over an issue that's become clouded by politics.  But he has no regrets over the ruling that ultimately allowed gay marriage to be legal in Iowa.

He says he wasn't prepared to see the results on election night.

"Of course knew that it's always a possibility, but to see it actually happen is another thing," said Cady. But he says  he respects the decision voters made.

However, talk of impeaching the remaining justices and attacks on the state's system for electing and retaining them has him concerned.

"Never before has any judge in the history of our country been removed from office by impeachment, simply for making a decision that was unpopular at the time," he added.

Cady is now looking to the court's future.  Three new members will likely be selected in the coming weeks, and he hopes to see the court back at "full strength" by the end of this year.

But, he wants to remind Iowans and lawmakers that he plans to keep fulfilling the responsibilities of Supreme Court Justice, even if it means making unpopular decisions.

"That's what judges do. Their duty is to uphold the consitution, and the varnum decision was a reflection of that responsibility that courts do every day around this state," he said.

About 15 of the 60 applicants vying for one of the three vacancies are from Eastern Iowa.

The public interview process begins Monday, at the judicial branch building in Des Moines.

The commission will give a list of nine nominees to Governor Terry Branstad. H will then have 30 days to appoint three new justices.



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