Former Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, the longest-serving chief justice in Indiana, is the recipient of the 2015 John Marshall Award, named after the longest-serving chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Shepard retired from the Indiana Supreme Court in March 2012 and currently serves as a senior judge for the Indiana Court of Appeals. He will receive the award, presented annually by the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association, on July 31 at the ABA’s annual meeting in Chicago.
Some of the highlights throughout Shepard’s 25 years as chief justice include being the force behind rules of resolution that help citizens avoid litigation, implementing instructions that allow jurors to be more involved in the judicial process, the expansion of translation services in trial courts, a scholarship program for minority law students and a statewide pro bono model.
“The John Marshall Award Selection Committee was very impressed by Chief Justice Shepard’s demonstrated commitment to the legal profession, legal education and the justice system. We unanimously agree that his lifetime of service embodied the ideals of this prestigious award and are excited to bestow the award upon such a worthy individual,” said North Carolina Chief Justice Mark Martin, chair of the selection committee.
Shepard has served as chair of the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar as well as the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. He has received the Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence and has served as president of the Conference of Chief Justices.
“That the ABA would honor me in the name of John Marshall himself is both heart-warming and exciting,” Shepard said. “As late as law school, it had never occurred to me that I might become a judge. It has turned out to be a career full of chances to do right, build a better system of justices and contribute to the success of the American experiment. I’m grateful to the many lawyers and judges with whom I’ve been privileged to collaborate, from whom I’ve learned so much.”
Shepard was named Indiana’s 99th Supreme Court justice in 1985. Two years later he became chief justice.
The John Marshall Award was first established by the ABA in 2001 to honor individuals who have made a positive, national impact on the justice system.
Past recipients of the award include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the late former-U.S. Sen. Howell Heflin of Alabama and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. The John Marshall Award is named for the fourth chief justice of the United States, who served for 34 years and is credited with establishing the independence of the judiciary and enhancing its moral authority.