After graduating from Drake University Law School, Mark S. Cady began his 37-year career in public service in 1983 when he was appointed as a Webster County district court judge. He was appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals in 1994, where he served as chief judge for two years. In 1998, Cady was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court and was named chief justice in 2010, a position he proudly held until his untimely death in November 2019.
Chief Justice Cady was dedicated to the pursuit of justice for all Iowans. He helped establish the Iowa Access to Justice Commission to find ways to serve Iowans who encounter difficulties accessing the Iowa justice system. He was a tireless champion of juvenile justice reform, and helped expand Iowa’s specialty family, veterans, and drug courts. He worked to demystify the judicial process by taking oral arguments on the road to Iowa communities.
Justice Cady may be best known for the 2009 decision he wrote for a unanimous court that legalized same-sex marriage based on the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. Iowa was one of the first state supreme courts to legalize same-sex marriage, six years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Justice Cady was a proud resident of Fort Dodge, Iowa. He earned his bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees from Drake University. He served as president of the Conference of Chief Justices and chair of the National Center for State Courts board of directors.
Chief Justice Cady was an exemplary leader and jurist, exhibiting compassion, vision, and courage. He leaves a lasting legacy of honor, integrity, and kindness.