Update: Confirmation doesn't stop court business

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Business is going on as usual this morning for the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, despite a historic moment that's happened in the court.

The U.S. Senate voted unanimously about 5 p.m. Thursday to confirm Magistrate Judge William T. Lawrence as a federal judge, meaning he'll be the Southern District's first-ever magistrate to be elevated to the constitutionally established Article III judge status.

Senators took a break from discussion on wiretapping to talk about judicial nominations, and held a roll-call vote at 4:35 p.m. that took about 30 minutes. The vote: 97-0.

President George W. Bush had selected Lawrence in February to succeed Judge John D. Tinder, whom the Senate confirmed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals late last year. Lawrence won unanimous consent from the Senate Judiciary Committee May 22.

On Thursday, the Senate's floor vote played out on C-Span 2 for anyone able to watch.

Sen. Richard Lugar, who'd recommended Magistrate Lawrence, read a statement prior to the vote, saying the jurist possessed the same degree of integrity and intelligence as his predecessor, Judge Tinder, and was an example of the strong judicial leader needed for this position. The senator mentioned Magistrate Lawrence's background before taking the federal bench in 2002 - his work as a public defender and his time on the Marion Circuit Court, where he reduced pending cases by 20 percent within a few years of taking the bench.

"Throughout Bill's career, his reputation for personal courtesy, fairness, decency and integrity was equally well-earned and widespread among colleagues and opposing counsel alike and on both sides of the political aisle," Lugar told his fellow senators.

While the newly confirmed judge wasn't immediately available late Thursday or early Friday, Magistrate Lawrence's court staff watched the vote and was able to alert him about the news. He was caught up in settlement conferences until about 6 p.m., and he returned to settlement matters first thing this morning.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker described the confirmation as "an amazing culmination of the suspense," and said she's looking forward to it being official once the president signs off on it.

The process to find a new magistrate for the Southern District has already begun, and applications are due Monday.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.