Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady says he doesn’t want judges to have to wage political campaigns for retention, but he’s not ruling out taking that step in the future. Cady says a climate where judges can only be retained if they raise money and campaign, or have supporters who campaign on their behalf will compromise the independence of the judiciary.
But he says if he and his fellow judges face organized opposition in the next election, they may have no choice. “And if we get a sense that that exists, then there is going to have to be a concerted, serious effort met that very well may open the door to what I really want to avoid,” Cady says.
Three justices were voted off the bench after being targeted for their support of the court’s decision to throw out the law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Eight of the nine final nominees for the court are white males, and the other is a woman. Cady says that should not be a problem in the court’s future decisions.
“It is important to have diversity, there is no doubt about that,” Cady says, “But each one of us at the table, each one of the justices can bring in their experiences and we’ll have to compensate for whatever lack of diversity the court may have.”
One of the justices voted off the bench was the chief justice, and Cady has been named the interim chief justice until the three new justices are named by the governor. Once all the seats have been filled, the justices will vote on a new chief justice.
Cady made his comments on the Iowa Public Radio program “The Exchange”.