The necessary team chemistry required for the Indiana Supreme Court to function properly appears to remain intact with the appointment of Geoffrey Slaughter to the bench, Chief Justice Loretta Rush said Thursday during his investiture ceremony.
Nearly 200 people gathered inside and out of the Indiana Supreme Court courtroom to celebrate Slaughter becoming the 109th justice on the Supreme Court. Gov. Mike Pence selected Slaughter in May to join the court, and he officially joined the court June 13.
In attendance at the investiture were several Court of Appeals judges, federal judges and members of the executive branch, including Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Also in attendance were several rows of attorneys from Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, where Slaughter was a partner for 15 years before joining the court.
Rush joked during her introductory remarks, “Is there any work being done at Taft law firm?”
Later, Rush described Slaughter as an excellent writer with a fantastic work ethic. She also explained how important the chemistry among the justices is to maintain a collegial and functioning court.
“It appears the chemistry will remain intact,” she said, referring to the last two months working with Slaughter.
Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch, who worked with Slaughter for seven years at Taft before she joined the federal bench, spoke the crowd about Slaughter. She noted his love of Indiana University football and the Chicago Cubs, and how he likes to use “old-timey” words frequently, such as knucklehead.
She also warned the lawyers who will now appear before Slaughter for arguments that if his eyes get wide and he starts waving his arms during an argument, that it “may not bode well for you.”
Lynch also joked about how particular Slaughter can be about fonts and how Times New Roman, the font used by the court in its opinions, is not his preferred font.
She described Slaughter as courteous and generous, and she has never known someone else “who disagrees so agreeably.”
“He will be a terrific 109th justice of the Indiana Supreme Court,” she said.
During his remarks, Slaughter thanked Pence for entrusting him with the privilege of serving as a justice. He noted Brent Dickson, who is now a senior judge, left huge shoes to fill and he is mindful of Dickson’s enormous legacy.
He thanked family, friends and former colleagues who attend the ceremony or were watching the webcast.
Slaughter told the story of how he and his wife, Julie Ann Slaughter, met while they both worked in the attorney general’s office. She had asked him out to lunch and he said he was going to tell her he wasn’t interested in anything, but said after lunch he was hooked. They have been married 15 years.
He described his new colleagues on the bench as kind and welcoming, and joked about his previous attempt to get on the high court.
“All of my colleagues were smarter enough to get to this court on their first try,” he noted, referencing how this was his second time applying to the court. He applied in 2012, and was selected as a finalist along with Hamilton Superior Judge Steve Nation and Rush.
Rush administered the oath to Slaughter as his wife held the family bible. Later, Julie Slaughter unveiled the official court portrait of Slaughter which will hang in the Indiana Supreme Court courtroom.