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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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