Rush named next chief justice, first female to lead the court

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Loretta Rush was selected the next chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday by the seven-member Judicial Nominating Commission, which deliberated about an hour before naming her the first female chief justice in the state’s history.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence the JNC has given me,” Rush said after her unanimous selection. On being the first woman chief, she said, “I look forward to the day it’s unremarkable.”

Rush will succeed outgoing Chief Justice Brent Dickson, who announced earlier this year he will step down from the leadership position by Sept. 1, but will remain on the court. Dickson, who as chief justice also chairs the JNC, must retire from the court when he turns 75 in July 2016.

Dickson repeated the comment of commission member Tom Rose who said the seven-member panel had “an embarrassment of riches” in selecting a chief-designee from among Rush and Justices Steven David, Mark Massa and Robert Rucker.

After the commission interviewed the four justices, members adjourned to executive session, where Dickson said he didn’t have to make his preference known before Rush was selected. “I had colleagues that made that decision for me,” he said.

Nevertheless, Dickson said it was a close choice. Commission members, he said, “left today feeling extremely fulfilled. … The court is going to be very well-led by Chief Justice Rush.”

Former Justice Frank Sullivan, whom Rush succeeded on the court, said she has a deep appreciation for the chief justice’s many responsibilities. “Chief Justice Rush will embrace those responsibilities with skill, energy, enthusiasm, and a real sense of mission,” Sullivan said in a statement.

Rush said tomorrow will be like any other day – she’ll show up for work around 9 a.m., though she’ll soon have to get used to sitting in a different chair.

She said she’ll look forward to learning from Dickson and Rucker, the two senior-most justices, before pronouncing her vision for the court. She said she’ll also look to what she called a strong group of judicial leaders around the state to help.

“A strategic plan will be developed,” she said, “with a lot of input. But it will take time.”

Governor Mike Pence was among state leaders who endorsed the JNC’s selection.

“I offer my sincerest congratulations to Justice Loretta Rush on being unanimously selected to be the new Chief Justice of Indiana. With this selection, the Judicial Nominating Commission has made history and ensured that Indiana's Supreme Court will continue to have outstanding leadership in the years ahead. With her extensive legal experience, proven character and commitment to public service, I am confident that Chief Justice Rush will serve our judiciary and our state with distinction," Pence said in a statement.

Read more about the selection in the Aug. 13 print edition of Indiana Lawyer.



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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