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. Welcome to Hendricks County where local and state statutes (especially Indiana Class C misdemeanors) are given a higher consideration than Federal statues and active duty military call-ups.

  2. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  3. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  4. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  5. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

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