Williamsburg, Va., July 31, 2019 – Iowa Chief Justice Mark S. Cady has been named president of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and chair of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Board of Directors. The one-year terms became effective at the end of July, during CCJ’s annual conference and NCSC’s Board of Directors meetings in Asheville, N.C.
Founded in 1949 and comprised of the top judicial officers of each state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, CCJ promotes the interests and effectiveness of state judicial systems by developing policies and educational programs designed to improve court operations. CCJ also acts as the primary representative of the state courts before Congress and federal executive agencies.
“Chief Justice Cady has earned a national reputation as a leader who is dedicated to fairness, access, and transparency in the justice system,” said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen. “His work reflects this commitment. He has promoted public respect and confidence in the justice system by building relationships with the legal community, business groups, community leaders and legislators.”
Chief Justice Cady was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1998, and he became chief justice on Jan. 1, 2011. Prior to the state’s Supreme Court, he served on the Iowa Court of Appeals from 1994 to 1998 and served in the district court from 1983 to 1994. Currently, Chief Justice Cady serves as chair of the CCJ and Conference of State Court Administrators’ Courts, Children and Families Committee, and he is leading a multi-year Family Justice Initiative. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force.
Chief Justice Cady received his undergraduate and law degrees from Drake University in Iowa.
The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.
Text of Chief Justice Cady's
Conference of Chief Justices Presidential Speech
July 31, 2019
I am honored to receive the gavel from Paul and to serve as your president for the next year. It is an honor shaped by my respect and admiration for each of you and the promise enshrined in the constitution to build “a more perfect union.” Each of us share a common bond that underscores our common understanding of the responsibilities of a chief justice. From the special place we occupy in our respective justice systems, we are able to see the benefits derived from the advancement of justice. We see our legacy, if there might be one, will not be found in an opinion published in a regional reporter, but by what we do in our time as leaders of our state justice systems to shape the process of justice in ways that demonstrates the value of our services to the people we serve.
So, over the next year, I hope to do what those before me have done, and what those who will follow me will do. I hope to continue to help each state build the best court system possible consistent with the purpose and objectives of this conference. Fortunately, the opportunity to make progress has never been better. Today, we are supported by a National Center for State Courts that has never been stronger or better positioned to help us advance justice. Its leadership and expertise is giving us the opportunity to transform possibilities into realities. In each of our states, we have judges and administrators who see and understand the possibilities available to improve the process of justice. In every state, we are finding new ways to harness science and technology to give greater meaning to justice itself. And, as we all know, there is so much more to give us the capacity that we have never had before.
So, from my perspective, the possibilities for justice are endless, and the time is now. But as we continue to fulfill the promise of a “more perfect union,” we must also work to promote public understanding of our court system and of our critical mission. We must promote our shared value in a strong, American democracy. Even when particular court decisions are not immediately accepted, we must always display the values and strength of the institution of justice.
Public trust and confidence can be promoted in many ways. Some of us take our court out on the road. Some of us issue annual reports. Some of us host law schools for journalists. Some of us find ways to showcase the enduring importance of independent courts insulated from politics. The point is all of us are promoting public trust and confidence in ways that work best for our respective court systems. And we can learn new ways from each other and the national center. I hope we can invite each other to our states to share our voices and show our unity and strength. I hope our voices will unite people as Americans. Over the next year, I hope we use our collective voices to expand a national conversation on promoting public trust and confidence in our state courts. This is our opportunity to stand up for the values for which our founders stood. It is as important now, as then.
Justice endures when we promote public trust and confidence in our court system. Justice endures when citizens see the value in the services our court system provides. Justice endures when citizens see their fair and impartial courts as essential in this American democracy. Justice endures when we all speak out against attacks on fair and impartial courts. It is incumbent upon all of us to give citizens the information and the tools they need to ensure justice endures, that its value endures, in every state.
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