The interim chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court is scheduled to deliver a major speech today in front of some of the legislators who’re pushing to impeach him.
Mark Cady is one of four justices who remain on the court. Three others were voted off the bench in last year’s judicial retention election. House Republican Leader Linda Upmeyer says Cady would be wise to specifically address some of the issues raised by critics who question the court’s ruling on gay marriage.
“I think that’s what I would do if I were the justice, try and make sure that people understand — perhaps — how they arrived at that decision,” Upmeyer says. “I don’t mean they have to defend it, but I’d certainly talk about it in some fashion and I don’t think it does much good to ignore it.”
Norman Pawlewski, a lobbyist for the Iowa Faith and Family Coalition, says an “I’m sorry” from Cady would be a good start for today’s speech, but Pawlewski isn’t expecting an apology.
“I don’t expect any mea culpas. They have, to this point, taken a pretty much ‘comme ci, comme ca’ attitude toward it — it’s what happened and it’s done,” Pawlewski says. “I don’t think he’s going to mention the fact that they may be impeached. I just think they’re ignoring that problem.”
Senator Kent Sorenson, a Republican from Indianola, says Cady recently spoke to rookie legislators. “He seemed a little humbled, but yet doesn’t want to accept what happened,” Sorenson says.
Sorenson is among the critics of the court and he has drafted legislation that would have judges in Iowa elected rather than appointed.
“It’ll be interesting to see,” Sorenson says of today’s speech. “I think this is probably the most anticipated speech out of the year — and that’s really out of the norm.”
Representative Dwayne Alons, a Republican from Hull, says it would be best for Cady to avoid mentioning impeachment or the future retention votes for the four justices.
“I am not sure what to expect,” Alons says. “Hopefully(Cady) will talk about the overall picture of the judiciary and not get into statements about what’s going on related to the possible future of their positions.”
According to a statement released by court officials late Tuesday afternoon, Cady will address “certain aspects of the continuing public debate triggered by the supreme court’s 2009 ruling” on gay marriage.
Supporters of the justices are planning a rally at the statehouse at 8:30 this morning.
Troy Price is a spokesman for “One Iowa” — a group that supports “marriage equality” for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Iowans.
“We wanted to make sure that everyone comes up here and shows their support for the courts and our great system of justice that we have here in Iowa,” Price says.
Price isn’t sure what to expect from today’s speech. “We’ve got a new chief justice and he’s the justice who wrote the opinion, actually,” Price says. “I’m very eager to hear what he has to say.”
Mark and Janet Rosenbury of West Des Moines intend to be in the audience today. “Their job is to uphold the constitution of the state of Iowa and not necessarily do what is supposedly the will of the people,” Mark Rosenbury says. “…We think it was an excellent opinion by the Supreme Court and we’re just very supportive.”
The Rosenburys, who have been married for 43 years, were at the statehouse Tuesday, lobbying legislators on the issue.
According to the written statement from the Supreme Court, “Chief Justice Cady hopes his remarks will help promote a greater understanding of the courts and their important role in maintaining our democracy.”
Cady’s speech is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.