Public Safety

Wiggins to serve as acting chief justice

Mark Cady had appointed Wiggins to act on his behalf

Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins asks a question during a February hearing in Des Moines. Wiggins on Thursday was named acting chief justice of the court, following the unexpected death last week of Chief Justice Mark Cady. He will serve until the governor appoints a new justice and the full court elects one of its members to be chief justice. (The Gazette)
Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins asks a question during a February hearing in Des Moines. Wiggins on Thursday was named acting chief justice of the court, following the unexpected death last week of Chief Justice Mark Cady. He will serve until the governor appoints a new justice and the full court elects one of its members to be chief justice. (The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Justice David Wiggins of West Des Moines will serve as acting chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court until the vacancy on the high court is filled by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Chief Justice Mark Cady died unexpectedly Friday at age 66.

The chief justice appoints one of the other justices to act in his or her place during the chief justice’s absence or inability to act.

Cady, on Nov. 15, 2016, appointed Wiggins to that role.

Once the governor appoints a new justice — which will take around 90 days — the seven justices will elect one of their members as chief justice.

That chief justice will serve until the first meeting of the Supreme Court in 2021, when another vote will be taken.

Under changes the Legislature made last session, the justices are required to elect a chief justice every two years rather than every eight years.

Wiggins was appointed to the court in 2003 by then-Gov. Tom Vilsack. His current term expires Dec. 31, 2020.

Wiggins, 68, a Chicago native, earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1973.

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In 1976, he graduated with honors from Drake University Law School, where he was associate editor of the law review.

Wiggins worked for the West Des Moines law firm of Williams Hart Lavorato & Kirtley, becoming a partner in 1979.

He was chairman of the Judicial Qualifications Commission from 2000 until he joined the Supreme Court. He received the meritorious achievement award from the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association in 1999.

Wiggins and his wife have three children and four grandchildren.

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