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Dickson says consensus among justices on next chief unlikely

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Before Brent Dickson was selected chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court more than two years ago, his fellow justices came one by one before the Judicial Nominating Commission and said he was the man for the job.

As he prepares to step down as chief in coming months, Dickson said he doubts that will happen this time around when the commission chooses his successor.

“My guess is it’s not likely the other justices among themselves would agree who should be the leader,” Dickson said.

Dickson, who chairs the commission that will select his successor, said he doesn’t like to characterize the process as a competition, and any of the justices is capable of leading the court.

“I don’t see it so much as a contest as what I’ve seen so far is my colleagues are willing to serve but not aggressively seeking to win,” he said.

“They are approaching this as an opportunity for service, not something that’s colored with personal aggrandizement.”

Dickson announced in June he will step down as chief justice sometime before Sept. 1, and the commission is scheduled to meet Aug. 6 for public interviews with Justices Steven David, Mark Massa, Robert Rucker and Loretta Rush.

Dickson succeeded Randall Shepard, who presided over the court for the longest period in state history. Dickson, who’s served since 1986, was seen as providing continuity to a court that has added three justices – David, Massa and Rush – in less than four years.

Stepping down as chief but remaining on the court, Dickson said, will allow him to concentrate on writing opinions in his remaining time before he hits the mandatory retirement age of 75 in July 2016.

He said during his tenure, the chief justice’s work has been shared among all the justices.

“I’m frankly blessed to have great people to work with,” he said, noting the justices appointed in recent years “really jumped in the deep end since they came on the court.

“Each has had important responsibilities, and as a group we’ve discussed most of the major decisions that fall to the chief justice,” Dickson said. “It’s not going to come as a surprise or a complete new thing to any one of them.”

Indiana Lawyer readers have their own ideas of who they think will be the next chief justice. In a recent online poll on this topic, David emerged as the frontrunner – grabbing 40 percent of the votes. Rush came in second with 27 percent of the votes followed by Massa’s 22 percent. Rucker, who will be at the mandatory retirement age when his current term ends, received 10 percent of the votes.
 
 

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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