Indiana in minority on how it handles Supreme Court ties

June 1, 2016

Indiana is in the minority when it comes to handling state Supreme Court ties, according to a recent article by a Texas Supreme Court justice.

Indiana is one of only 16 states that let ties happen. In the other 34, an interim justice is appointed, either on a case-by-case basis or until the time a permanent justice is named, Justice Don Willett wrote in the Wall Street Journal article that ran Monday.

The Indiana Supreme Court has had three ties in cases since Justice Brent Dickson left the court at the end of April and a few other cases have been denied transfer due to deadlocked votes. Geoffrey Slaughter will take Dickson’s place on the bench in the coming weeks .

According to Willett’s article, 23 states assign interim judges as soon as there is a vacancy. In the other 11, the judge is named only when there is a deadlock and that judge essentially decides the case.

In 22 states, the chief justice names the replacement. The court in seven states makes that appointment, and in four states the governor does it, Willet explained.

Some states have list of names to choose from. Some make the appointment from their list based on alphabetical order; others choose names at random.

The full article can be read here (subscription required).


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