The justices of the Supreme Court have chosen a replacement for the outgoing chief justice. Justice Mark Cady of Fort Dodge was selected to take over as the chief justice on January 1st to replace current Chief Justice Marsha Ternus.

Ternus was voted off the court along with justices Michael Streit and David Baker in November’s election and their terms expire on December 31st. The three were targeted for removal because of their support of the decision that made gay marriage legal in Iowa.

Court spokesman Steve Davis did not want to do a recorded interview, but said the justices selected Cady now so the court would have a leader to run the court system once Ternus leaves the bench. Davis said he did not know if the three justices who lost the retention vote took part in the election of Cady. But, he says once the three new justices join the court, another vote will be taken for chief justice to allow the new members to participate.

Cady wrote the gay marriage decision and as the senior most judge had led the judicial nominating commission that selects nominees to fill vacancies on the court. The court spokesman says Justice David Wiggins of West Des Moines will now take over as the chair of the nominating commission.

Cady issued a two sentence statement that said: “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. I look forward to working with Governor Branstad and the legislature on these and other matters affecting the administration of justice.”

Court spokesman Davis says they will soon be releasing more information on the nominating process.