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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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