The final 2 interviews

September 27, 2010
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Michelle Baldwin
Michelle Baldwin told commission members about her varied background, including how she went off on her own to represent clients on tax matters and her current work focusing on the energy industry clients and tax incentives. She discussed her experience on medical licensing issues for pharmacies and pharmacists, and talked about the importance of having those review boards in place. She discussed the importance of how the Tax Court must follow statutes and also make sure people understand why the statutes were enacted. Someone within the Tax Court acting as a legislative liaison might be a beneficial function in helping lawmakers understand what proposed legislation might mean for taxpayers. Baldwin also discussed work on soldiers’ right areas, and noted that she’s seen both sides of tax issues in a way she think would allow her to be impartial and be a good tax court judge.

Thomas Ewbank
The grandson of former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Lewis who served in the early 20th century, Ewbank talked about his longtime practice that has involved inheritance tax work since the late 1960s and how this could be a capstone to his legal career. However, he’d only be able to serve eight years because of the mandatory retirement age of 75 for state appellate judges. He talked about how important ADR is to help courts, and also noted that the tax court judge could be influential in helping the legislature understand and clear up ambiguities in proposed legislation.

The seven-member Judicial Nominating Commission began deliberating behind closed doors just before 3:30 p.m. on who to name as semi-finalists. Once members reach a decision, they will hold a public vote on who to bring back for second interviews.

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  1. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

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  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

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  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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