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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues