Will the governor appoint a female justice?

August 9, 2012
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When the application process began for those interesting in being the next Indiana justice, women dominated the applicant pool. Now, Gov. Mitch Daniels has just a 33 percent chance of appointing a woman to the Indiana Supreme Court.

For those who want to see a female justice, the best case scenario would have been for the nominating commission to send three women’s names to the governor. I expected to see two women listed as finalists, so I was surprised to see only one woman make the final cut. Hamilton Superior Judge Steven Nation, Tippecanoe Superior Judge Loretta Rush, or Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP attorney Geoffrey Slaughter will be an Indiana justice before year’s end.

I was unable to sit in on the interviews this time, so my reaction is based only on what my co-worker relayed to me about the interviews, what I’ve read, and my limited knowledge of all the candidates going into the interviews. It appears that Rush was the only woman who the Judicial Nominating Commission felt ranked among the top three in their qualifications to be a justice. A glance at the original applicant names and the semifinalist list showed several other women who appeared on paper to be possible contenders.

This blog is not to dismiss or discredit the qualifications of the men who applied and have made it to the list of finalists. It is to address the pink elephant in the room.

Twenty-two people applied to replace Frank Sullivan Jr. on the court; 16 of the original applicants were women. Even when the 10 semifinalists were named, there were more women than men who made the cut. But none of that matters now; what matters are the three names the governor will select from.

Daniels is facing heat from some to appoint a woman. Many thought when Theodore Boehm stepped down in 2009, that appointment would be a woman. Then again with Randall Shepard earlier this year, the thoughts were he has to appoint a woman this time. We’re one of just three states that does not have a female on our Supreme Court right now.

I agree with the responses of several of the applicants during their interviews Wednesday that diversity on the court doesn’t just mean gender or ethnicity. We want people to have diverse work experiences and life experiences. I’d argue you’d get that from appointing a woman.

This appointment is likely Daniels’ last chance to appoint a woman to the “dream team” of justices he referenced during Chief Justice Brent Dickson’s official oath ceremony this week. Our former “dream team” consisted of five well-qualified, respected and collegial men: Boehm, Dickson, Robert Rucker, Shepard and Sullivan. Might the governor add a well-qualified, respected, collegial woman so the new “dream team” is Dickson, Rucker, David, Massa and Rush? There’s a 33 percent chance it will happen.
 

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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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