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Former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady honored posthumously

Receives ‘Friend of the First Amendment’ award

DES MOINES — Former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady was posthumously presented the “Friend of the First Amendment” award by the Iowa Freedom of Information Council on Thursday.

Cady, a long-time Fort Dodge resident who died last November at the age of 66, was recognized in a virtual ceremony during the organization’s annual meeting. Cady’s wife, Rebecca, of Fort Dodge, accepted the honor via Zoom.

“The award has been presented annually since 2001 to recognize individuals who have worked diligently to advance the rights encompassed within the First Amendment,” stated Randy Evans, executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, in a letter addressed to the Cady family. “That certainly describes the Chief during his distinguished career. He played an important leadership role in building on the Iowa Judicial Branch’s Expanded News Media Coverage program, allowing journalists to livestream court hearings and trials and to blog from inside courtrooms. Through his wise guidance, he made the Supreme Court more accessible to the public by scheduling oral arguments in locations outside of Des Moines.

“The Expanded News Media Coverage program is near and dear to the Iowa FOI Council’s heart. We have been designated by the Supreme Court as the coordinator of the courtroom logistics for the ENMC program for more than 40 years.”

Cady served on the Iowa Supreme Court from 1998 to 2019, and was its chief justice from 2011-19. He was the author of the court’s opinion in Varnum v. Brien, which legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa.

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