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Governor has met with Supreme Court finalists

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Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels wants to move quickly on appointing the state’s next Indiana Supreme Court justice. He has already met with the three finalists who are vying for that position.

The Judicial Nominating Commission on Feb. 22 interviewed seven semi-finalists and selected Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Cale Bradford, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute Director Mark Massa and Indiana Judicial Center Director Jane Seigel as finalists. One will be chosen to succeed Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, who is retiring March 23.

On Wednesday, the chief justice sent a six-page letter to the governor detailing the commission’s selection of finalists and each person’s background and experience. The letter concludes by saying each nominee is someone of “such high caliber that they would be a lasting credit to the state’s high court.”

The letter is a typical procedural step, one that officially starts the clock on the governor’s 60-day timetable to make a decision.

Daniels told reporters Friday morning that he talked with each of the finalists. He plans to make a decision “way ahead of the deadline” and is moving quickly, but wants to make sure he is being thoughtful about the process. When asked about the court’s gender diversity, Daniels said the importance of choosing a woman is a factor but one that doesn’t trump other factors such as merit and judicial philosophy.

“I would love nothing more, in this context and many more for that matter, to appoint women, and minorities likewise,” Daniels said. “But it’s a tie-breaker. In the case of a job this important, it comes down below the qualities that I mentioned. We’ve got to have the best qualified judge, one with the best temperament, and I want to see someone who will respect the separations of power and boundaries of judicial decision-making.”

Shepard’s term as chief justice expires on Sunday. From then until his retirement, he will have the title of acting chief justice. After Shepard’s retirement, Justice Brent Dickson, the justice who will then have the most seniority, will take over as acting chief until the Judicial Nominating Commission chooses a successor following Daniels’ appointment.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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