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Rush: Dickson’s last argument to be where Supreme Court began

January 13, 2016

The case is unlikely to be about a stolen horse or an illicit card game, but the Indiana Supreme Court will mark the state’s bicentennial this spring by returning to the Corydon courthouse where those first cases were heard.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush announced Wednesday in her State of the Judiciary address that the court will hear a case in the historic southern Indiana building at a date to be determined in April. The case will be the final matter Dickson hears before his retirement on April 29.

Rush began her address harkening back 200 years to the “frontiersmen-turned-statesmen” who crafted the state’s first constitution. A then-three-judge panel of the Indiana Supreme Court heard its first cases in a chamber that held about 20.

“Their docket included a stolen horse purchased at a sheriff’s sale … and an indictment for ‘unlawfully betting on a game of cards called Loo at Craig’s tavern in Brownstown,’” Rush said.

Since then, few justices have served on the court more than 25 years, and Dickson will retire as the second-longest-serving, trailing only Isaac Blackford, who recorded those first cases in Indiana history in “Blackford’s Reports.”

Rush hailed Dickson’s legacy on the court, saying he “has shaped the heart of Indiana law for years to come through careful opinions, keen insight, intelligence, unswerving ethics, tireless work, and dedication to the rule of law. He has further led administrative reforms including dispute resolution through mediation, pretrial release, and promoting volunteer legal services for the poor.

“Hearing his final argument in the Corydon courtroom benefits a man who has spent his career upholding the framers’ Constitution,” Rush said. “Our entire state owes its thanks to Justice Dickson and his wife, Jan, a leader in her own right as founder of the Judicial Family Institute.”

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