Iowa Leaders Honoring the Legacy of Chief Justice Mark Cady

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady died suddenly Friday night of a heart attack. Cady’s family released a statement saying, “tonight, the state lost a great man, husband, father, grandfather and jurist.” That is something being echoed across Iowa.

Cady was well known for bringing change and innovation to Iowa’s Supreme Court.

“He worked tirelessly … I think he was the hardest worker on our court. He cared about all aspects of the law,” said Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield.

Cady is well known for writing the 2009 unanimous opinion that made Iowa the nation’s third state to permit same-sex marriage, but according to Mansfield, his impact in the state stretches to almost every aspect of life.

“In the areas of juvenile justice and obviously the Varnum decision, other civil rights decisions that he’s written, he has had a tremendous impact on many Iowans who aren’t even aware of what he has done to deliver justice to them,” said Mansfield.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said in an official statement that she is “heartbroken” to learn of Cady’s passing and that he is leaving behind a legacy of service and dedication. 

Iowa Democratic Chairperson Troy Price said in a tweet, “Justice Cady not only changed Iowa but America … he will be missed but his legacy will forever live on.”

Many 2020 presidential candidates took to Twitter to pay their respects. Many used words like powerful, legacy, leader, integrity and commitment to describe Cady.

“The thing that he’s done that I think most Iowans will look back and remember the most is just this different perspective on justice that he has brought to the court,” said Mansfield. 

A public memorial service will take place Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Knapp Center at Drake University. 


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