Experienced applicants file for Supreme Court vacancy

Sixteen men and five women applied to succeed Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert Rucker, the Judicial Nominating Commission announced Friday.

justice-names.gif More than half the candidates have been interviewed by the commission for past appellate court vacancies, and several have been finalists or semifinalists to serve on the Indiana Supreme Court or the Indiana Court of Appeals. The applicants include eight judges, six law firm partners, four solo practitioners, a lawmaker, a state attorney, and a recently suspended lawyer who’s suing the Indiana Supreme Court.

Rucker will retire this spring after 26 years on the bench. Initial candidate interviews will take place March 20-22 with semifinalists interviewed April 17-19. Gov. Eric Holcomb will select the next justice from three finalists chosen by the commission.

Hostetler and Kincaid were two of the three names the commission forwarded to Gov. Mike Pence last year, when he chose Geoffrey Slaughter as the state’s 109th justice, replacing Brent Dickson. Carmichael, Rusthoven and Washburne were semifinalists last year for the position.

Likewise, Granger was a semifinalist for appointment to the state’s high court in 2012, when Justice Mark Massa was appointed to the bench to replace former Chief Justice Randall Shepard. Goff, meanwhile, was one of three finalists nominated for a seat on the Indiana Court of Appeals that ultimately was filled by Judge Robert Altice.

Hardman, Medlock, Oss, Owens and Weissmann also have been interviewed for past Supreme Court vacancies, and Creason has been a candidate for a past Court of Appeals vacancy.

Meanwhile, the commission has an application from an attorney the Supreme Court suspended last month for filing lawsuits the court deemed frivolous. Andrew U.D. Straw, an Illinois attorney who formerly worked for the court, has sued the court claiming discrimination on the basis of disability.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said the commission planned to meet Monday in executive session to determine eligibility of candidates, after which an interview schedule will be determined. According to the court, when the March interview schedule is made public, applications and photographs will be available online here. Attachments, including writing samples and transcripts, will be available in the Supreme Court Law Library.

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