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Southern District judiciary comes together at ‘historic’ event to thank Lugar, Bayh

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Judges and judicial officers from the U.S. District Court for Southern District of Indiana came together recently to honor Sen. Richard Lugar and former Sen. Evan Bayh for their service to the federal judiciary.

The pair was recognized during a special luncheon Oct. 18 in the William E. Steckler Ceremonial Courtroom at the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. Chief Judge Richard Young called the event historic because, for the first time, all the current Article III judges from the Southern District, as well as the bankruptcy and magistrate judges and 7th Circuit Judge John Daniel Tinder were present with the two senators.

“We wanted to bring them to the courthouse to thank them for their support of the Southern District and the judiciary over the years,” Young said.

Lugar, a Republican, has served in the U.S. Senate since 1976 and will leave the Senate at the end this term. Bayh, a Democrat, retired in 2011 after two terms.

The judiciary thanked the senators for their effort to work together to nominate Article III judges in the Southern District. During the years between 1999 and 2011 when their terms overlapped, Lugar and Bayh always consulted with each other on the judicial nominations, even though they were not obligated to do so, before submitting any names to the president for consideration.

SenatorLunch-15col.jpg Judges and judicial officers from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana held a special luncheon Oct. 18 to honor Sen. Richard Lugar and former Sen. Evan Bayh. Pictured are: (front row, left to right) Sen. Evan Bayh, Chief Judge Richard L. Young, Sen. Dick Lugar, Judge Tanya M. Walton Pratt; (second row, left to right) Senior Judge Larry J. McKinney, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson, Judge Sarah Evans Barker, Judge William T. Lawrence, 7th Circuit Judge John Daniel Tinder; (third row, left to right): Magistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore, Magistrate Judge Craig M. McKee, Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker, Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch, Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue; and (back row, left to right): Bankruptcy Judge Anthony J. Metz III, Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Otte, Chief Bankruptcy Judge James K. Coachys (Photo submitted)

They had a “pretty special relationship together when it came to nominating federal judges,” Young said.

These two men reached across party lines to uphold their responsibility and ensure the citizens had a full court, Young said. Their actions also helped make the confirmation process smoother since the collaboration of two senators from opposite sides of the aisle sent a message to other U.S. senators.

Consequently, vacancies on the federal benches in Indiana were filled quickly, which enabled the court to function without judges having to crowd their schedules with the cases spilling over from the vacant court and without Hoosiers having to wait longer for their cases to be heard.  

At the luncheon, Lugar and Bayh were each presented with a copy of the book, “Federal Justice in Indiana: The History of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana,” by George Geib and Don Kite. Then the two senators made informal remarks.

The luncheon was “very special and one that will be hard to forget,” Young said.

 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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