Day 2 of interviews for justice spot

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By the end of the day, the seven-member Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission will decide who to bring back for a second round of interviews for the state’s next Supreme Court justice.

Interviews continued today for the remaining 15 applicants for the high court to replace retiring Justice Theodore Boehm. Nineteen of the 34 applicants went before the commission Tuesday.

Questions mirrored those asked during the first day, focusing on experience, views on collegiality, judicial philosophy, and what leadership roles the court’s justices should be taking.

In telling members why he’d want to move from Indiana Solicitor General to Supreme Court justice, Thomas Fisher said that he wanted to be a judge since clerking at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals early in his career, and this is the next logical step to be able to think intellectually about the law.

“It comes out of the realization that this won’t last forever, no matter how much I love it,” he said. “The possibility of being a justice on our Supreme Court thrills me to no end.”

Responding to a concern about his lack of trial experience, Fisher told members that his experience understanding the overall court process, including trial level and jury issues, is beneficial.

Marion Superior judges Cynthia Ayers and Robyn Moberly, and Johnson Superior Judge Cynthia Emkes discussed their experience handling nearly every type of case while on the trial-court bench.

Judge Emkes talked specifically about the growth of her county and its impact on the courts while also mentioning her experience in handling the high profile death-penalty case of Michael Dean Overstreet.

Lake Superior Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura discussed her handling of juvenile and family court issues and said that experience could help “breathe new life” into the high court.

Also interviewing today are Boone Circuit Judge Steven H. David; Granger attorney Lyle R. Hardman of Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros; Hamilton Superior Judge William J. Hughes; Howard Superior Judge William C. Menges Jr.; Indianapolis attorney Karl L. Mulvaney of Bingham McHale;, Valparaiso University School of Law distinguished practitioner-in-residence Clare Kraegel Neuchterlein; Indianapolis attorney Curtis E. Shirely; Steubern Circuit Judge Allen N. Wheat; Henry Circuit Judge Mary G. Willis; and Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, chief counsel of consumer protection in the Attorney General’s Office.

The commission goes into executive session at 4 p.m. to discuss the applicants and then will hold a public vote on who will become semi-finalists. Those people return for second interviews July 30 before the three finalists’ names are forwarded to the governor for final consideration and appointment.


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