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Schedule set for Supreme Court justice vacancy

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Anyone who wants to be the next Indiana Supreme Court justice has until the end of this month to apply.

The Indiana Supreme Court Judicial Nomination Commission is accepting applications until June 30 for the appellate post, which is being vacated once Justice Theodore Boehm retires Sept. 30.

Most of the process is in the hands of the seven-member commission, which is chaired by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and consists of three attorneys chosen by their colleagues and three non-lawyers appointed by the governor.

Commission members will conduct public interviews with those applicants on July 6 and 7 in Indianapolis, and then a second round of interviews with semi-finalists will take place July 30. Commission members will deliberate in executive session following those second interviews, then vote in a public session on which three finalists will be forwarded to Gov. Mitch Daniels for consideration.

Though Daniels has appointed two judges in recent years to the Indiana Court of Appeals, this will be his first chance to name a Supreme Court justice and it’s the first time since 1986 that a Republican governor will have the chance to fill a post on that bench.

By law, the governor has 60 days to select a new justice from the time he receives the nomination list. If he fails to do so, the chief justice or acting chief justice would make the appointment from the same list.

A candidate must be an Indiana resident and an Indiana bar member for at least 10 years, or an Indiana judge for at least five years. The annual salary and allowances for a Supreme Court justice is $154,328, according to the court’s public information officer Kathryn Dolan.

Whoever is chosen will serve until he or she faces a retention vote in the next general election at least two years following the appointment, and would then face retention vote every 10 years thereafter. Appellate judges in Indiana are only allowed to serve on the bench until the mandatory retirement age of 75, which was one of the reasons why Justice Boehm – who turns 72 in September - decided to retire now.

The last time a new justice search happened because of Justice Myra Selby’s return to private practice in 1999, the commission received 25 applications – significantly more than the 10 who applied in 1994 when she was chosen by then-Gov. Evan Bayh.

Those interested in applying may contact Adrienne Meiring with the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission at (317) 232-4706. Applications are posted on the state judiciary’s website at http://www.in.gov/judiciary/jud-qual/justice.html.
 

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