ILNews

Governor: Mark Massa 'superb choice' for Supreme Court

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

On Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard's final day as a member of the Indiana Supreme Court, Gov. Mitch Daniels named Mark S. Massa, a former state and federal prosecutor, as the state’s newest justice.

Daniels chose Massa, director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, on March 23 over Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Cale Bradford and Indiana Judicial Center Executive Director Jane A. Seigel. His selection came exactly one month after the three finalists had been chosen for his consideration.

Describing his pick as a superb selection and the finest choice he could have made, Daniels said he was impressed by Massa’s background and experience with all three branches of government as well as multiple aspects of legal practice. He has the merit, principle and temperament to be a great justice and make his own historical contributions on “America’s best Supreme Court,” the governor said.

A 1989 graduate of Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Massa, who turned 51 on March 6, has led the Criminal Justice Institute since May 2011 and served as the governor’s general counsel from 2006 to 2010 before making an unsuccessful run for Marion County prosecutor and temporarily chairing the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.

Massa served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District from 2002 to 2005, where he oversaw criminal investigations and led a task force to combat mortgage fraud. Before that, he worked as chief counsel and a deputy prosecutor in the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for about seven years.

Early in his career, Massa trained under Shepard as his law clerk.

“This is a sobering responsibility, and I can’t put into words how much it means to be appointed by my governor to replace my judge,” Massa said. “It’s not something any attorney does, looking in the mirror and seeing a potential Supreme Court justice staring back. This is going to take a while to get used to.”

In a statement, Shepard said that Massa has the character, mental power and generosity of heart to serve in ways that will make Indiana a place of greater justice.

The governor said that the fact Massa previously served as his general counsel may have actually worked against him as a candidate, because he was so familiar with Massa that he overlooked what the legal community thought about him. Daniels said he was moved by the evidence and testimony in support of Massa.

No start date has been scheduled, Massa said, but he will begin winding down his work at the criminal justice institute while immediately transitioning to the court to begin getting familiar with the new job.

Massa joins Justices Steven David, Brent Dickson, Robert Rucker and Frank Sullivan on the Supreme Court. Indiana remains one of only three states without a female on the Supreme Court bench; the other two are Idaho and Iowa.

With Massa chosen, the Judicial Nominating Commission will be able to move forward with the process for appointing a new chief justice to a five-year term to succeed Shepard. All five justices will have the opportunity to be considered for that position. Dickson is serving as acting chief justice until that decision is made.

Dickson said Friday that a decision was made to let the new justice “get settled” on the court before moving ahead with chief justice appointment. He said the commission likely won’t make a chief justice appointment before the process begins to replace Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Carr Darden, who is retiring in July.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

ADVERTISEMENT