Judge’s pending retirement leaked in clerk applicant’s letter

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

News of Indianapolis-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Tinder’s retirement about a year from now came in a way he didn’t expect. And while he won’t be hearing cases in real life afterward, he may be available to play a judge on TV if the opportunity arises.

Tinder’s retirement plans became known after a clerk applicant received a reply letter from Tinder that read in part, “I recently decided that I will be leaving the court in 2015 so I will not be hiring any additional clerks.” A few days later, the letter was leaked and published on the legal blog Above the Law.

“I certainly didn’t expect to see personal communication posted on a website, but I guess that’s the way of the world,” Tinder said Tuesday. “If I give information to someone and I don’t restrict it, that’s my own fault.

“It’s not like it was a secret either, though. Anybody could look at the calendar and figure out” that he would turn 65 in February 2015, at which point he will be eligible to assume senior judge status. But Tinder said he doesn’t intend to hear cases after more than 25 years on the federal bench.

Though Tinder hadn’t publicly announced his retirement from the Chicago-based 7th Circuit, he said he notified court administration last month that he intends to retire from the court next February. He said he also had shared the news with colleagues.

“I walked into the building here at 46 E. Ohio (in Indianapolis) in May 1984, and I’ve been working in this very same building ever since,” Tinder said. “I’ve had dream jobs for lawyers – now, and on the District Court, and as U.S. Attorney. They’re all things I enjoyed every day and I continue to enjoy.

“There’s benefit in trying something different,” he said. “I don’t want to put any particular limits on what I might try.”

Tinder said he has some “hazy notions” about what some of those things might be – public interest advocacy, maybe arbitration – along with some time for extended travel. “I have some bad habits like golf I might unleash a little,” he said.

“I’ve not really had the opportunity to exercise my First Amendment rights since about 1987 or so,” Tinder said.

Tinder is clearer, though, on what he won’t be doing – starting a law firm or appearing in a courtroom. “I’m not retiring from the legal profession, but I will be leaving the court, and I hope to remain active in some way in the legal community and the community at large,” he said. “I’m not just going to sit home and watch sitcoms.”

But Tinder says he does allow binge-watching of “House of Cards” and other popular dramas, and figures he as well as anyone might put his experience to work in a more artistic endeavor.

“My great hope is that I get a phone call from the people who are producing the prequel to ‘Breaking Bad,’” Tinder mused. “It would be fun to be a judge in a courtroom where Saul Goodman appears,” he said of the crooked lawyer portrayed in the just-concluded AMC network series.

And why not?

“I never would have thought I would have had a chance to do the things in the legal field I’ve been able to do,” Tinder said. “It’s just amazing to me, and it’s been a fun ride. Who know what lies ahead?”

After his appointment as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana in 1984, Tinder was nominated as a District Court judge in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan. In 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Tinder to the 7th Circuit, who was confirmed without an opposing vote in the U.S. Senate. Tinder graduated from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington in 1975.


Post a comment to this story

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
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  2. Paul Hartman of Burbank, Oh who is helping Sister Fuller with this Con Artist Kevin Bart McCarthy scares Sister Joseph Therese, Patricia Ann Fuller very much that McCarthy will try and hurt Patricia Ann Fuller and Paul Hartman of Burbank, Oh or any member of his family. Sister is very, very scared, (YES, I AM) This McCarthy guy is a real, real CON MAN and crook. I try to totall flatter Kevin Bart McCARTHY to keep him from hurting my best friends in this world which are Carolyn Rose and Paul Hartman. I Live in total fear of this man Kevin Bart McCarthy and try to praise him as a good man to keep us ALL from his bad deeds. This man could easy have some one cause us a very bad disability. You have to PRAISAE in order TO PROTECT yourself. He lies and makes up stories about people and then tries to steal if THEY OWN THRU THE COURTS A SPECIAL DEVOTION TO PROTECT, EX> Our Lady of America DEVOTION. EVERYONE who reads this, PLEASE BE CAREFUL of Kevin Bart McCarthy of Indianapolis, IN My Phone No. IS 419-435-3838.

  3. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  4. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

  5. (A)ll (C)riminals (L)ove (U)s is up to their old, "If it's honorable and pro-American, we're against it," nonsense. I'm not a big Pence fan but at least he's showing his patriotism which is something the left won't do.