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New justice joins the Indiana Supreme Court

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The state now has its 106th justice on the Indiana Supreme Court.

Justice Steven H. David officially took his oath and donned his black robe for the state’s highest court today, culminating a process that began with a May announcement that Justice Theodore R. Boehm was stepping down from the bench. Gov. Mitch Daniels chose the 15-year Boone Circuit judge about a month ago.

“Governor Daniels, sir, what can I say to the person who picked me over so many qualified candidates to be number 106,” the new justice said this morning, moments after the governor administered the judicial oath and he put on the new robe for the first time and took a seat on the bench. “I haven’t got the tattoo yet but I intend to get one. It’ll go right over the gavel I have right now.”

Dozens packed the ornate third-floor courtroom inside the Statehouse for the ceremony, people from all ranks of the state and federal judiciary and other parts of the Indiana legal community. Among the dignitaries attending were former Justices Boehm and Myra Selby, who was the first and only female on that court during the 1990s before she returned to private practice.

As the ceremony began, the new justice’s portrait on the courtroom wall between Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Robert D. Rucker was covered with a red curtain. After his robing and when Justice David actually joined the bench with his new colleagues, the curtain was removed to reveal his portrait.

When introducing those who’d speak about the new member, Chief Justice Shepard praised the merit-selection system that sets Indiana apart from many of its neighboring states that endure high-dollar and contentious judicial elections.

The governor pointed to the new justice’s extensive experience at the trial court level, corporate experience with Mayflower, private practice in Columbus, and his longtime service as a U.S. Army colonel and Judge Advocate General who’d represented detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Nashville attorney James Reichert, who served as vice president of legal for Mayflower back when Justice David worked there, talked about his friend and colleague’s passion for running and his love for family, the latter demonstrated by the justice’s kidney donation to his niece.

Once the court recessed briefly, the justices all returned with the newly sworn in Justice David. During his speech, the Justice David frequently cited a diverse roster of historical quotes and musical lyrics ranging from Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Mellencamp, Kenny Chesney, and other country-western singers that he noted were a favorite.

Wanting to be a lawyer since his childhood and a judge since the first day of law school, Justice David mentioned his judicial philosophy to those listening – including the governor, whom he apologized to for being “too late” following the interviews – and said it was humility, respect, fairness, and the rule of law. He also mentioned his love for family and juvenile cases and praised the civility and professionalism that the Supreme Court has demonstrated through the years.

“Every day I will do the best I can,” Justice David said, vowing to have respect for the executive and legislative branches and to always fight to protect the Indiana Constitution. “I have no agenda. I am not an ‘R’, I am not a ‘D’, I am not an ‘I’. I owe no one anything.”

One of his final notes during the ceremony was, “Life is a contact sport. You’ve got to play. You just can’t sit on the sidelines.”
 

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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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