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News spreads about Tinder's confirmation

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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News came late Tuesday night that U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder has been promoted to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

His first order of business today: resuming a criminal jury trial that's been under way this week in his Southern District of Indiana courtroom in Indianapolis. That priority made him unavailable early today to talk about the confirmation, but his courthouse colleagues made sure everyone knew the significance of the news.

"True to form, Judge Tinder was on the bench handling a jury trial the morning after he was confirmed," Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker said, noting what a noteworthy gift this is for the legal community. "He's a dedicated, hard-working judge, and his confirmation is a credit to his dedication and determination."

While most didn't see the televised confirmation vote, District Court Clerk Laura Briggs said she watched the vote at home with her husband and jumped up and down when hearing news of the unanimous vote shortly after 11 p.m.

After hours of debate about federal spending and other legislative issues throughout the day, the Senate moved to Judge Tinder's confirmation and voted 93-0 in his favor. Republican Sen. Richard Lugar had picked him for the spot, President George W. Bush nominated him in July, and the Senate has been working since to confirm him. Following last night's action, the confirmation vote was sent to the president for signing, which was expected today.

News spread quickly this morning in the Southern District's halls and court chambers, and everyone was absolutely ecstatic, Briggs said.

"I stayed up to watch the vote ... and couldn't sit still once Judge Tinder's name was on the screen," she said, noting that she watched the televised vote with her husband on C-Span2. "When the vote concluded unanimously, I'll admit that I literally danced with happiness for the judge.

"There's a certain pride associated with working for a man as honorable, intelligent, and fair as Judge Tinder," she added. "To see him recognized by this elevation, supported by senators from both political parties, is a credit to him and the court as a whole. It's a proud day for the Southern District."

Fellow U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker said she was pleased with how Judge Tinder's entire confirmation process wasn't arduous, as expected earlier this year. She knows how tough the waiting has been.

"I like to say he's off the Tinder-hook; though that sounds pre-planned and it's not," she said this morning. "This is analogous to a baby being born long overdue. When it finally happens, you're so ready for them to be born, but the wait makes it even more of a joyous occasion."

Judge Tinder is the first Hoosier jurist appointed to the federal appellate court in two decades. He will replace Circuit Judge Daniel A. Manion, who came from South Bend after being appointed in 1986 and is now taking senior status, according to his court staff in South Bend.

Uncertain this morning is when Judge Tinder's appointment will begin, but colleagues suspect he will be unofficially sworn in and then re-designated to the District Court until a new judge can be nominated and confirmed.

Judge Tinder will maintain office hours in the Southern District and travel back and forth to Chicago, according to Judge Barker.

"We're confident that he'll be as fine an appellate judge as he has been a trial judge," Judge Barker said about her colleague. "Everyone's confident that the things he's learned as a trial judge here about people and their important legal matters will influence the kind of judge he'll be."

A lifelong Indianapolis resident and Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington graduate, Judge Tinder has been at the District Court since 1987.

See the Dec. 26 issue of Indiana Lawyer for more comprehensive coverage on Judge Tinder's confirmation.
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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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