The clock is now ticking for Gov. Eric Holcomb to select Indiana’s next Supreme Court justice after he received an official letter describing the three finalists for a seat on the bench from Chief Justice Loretta Rush and the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission.
The letter, sent to Holcomb on Wednesday from Rush and on behalf of the JNC, describes Clark Circuit Judge Vicki Carmichael, Wabash Superior Judge Christopher Goff and Boone Superior Judge Matthew Kincaid as “high caliber,” with Rush writing that each of the three trial court judges “would be a lasting credit to the Indiana Supreme Court as well as to the State of Indiana.” The three were selected as finalists to fill the vacancy that will be left by Justice Robert Rucker’s retirement next month.
Rush’s letter described each of the three finalists’ legal education and careers, including their work in both private practice and on their respective benches.
Describing Carmichael as “a dedicated public servant and effective administrator,” the chief justice detailed Carmichael’s efforts toward developing various problem-solving courts in Clark County, such as the county’s Alcohol Court, and credited her with leading Clark County as it served as a pilot county for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. Quoting Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, Rush also wrote that Carmichael has a reputation for making her community a better place to live through her public service.
Goff, who Rush said is “recognized for his keen intellect and devotion to civic and community affairs,” also has a reputation for being an effective problem-solver who acts with integrity, compassion and justice. Throughout his legal career, the Wabash County judge has sought to expand his legal knowledge by enrolling in programs such as the Indiana Graduate Program for Judges and the Appellate Judges Education Institute Annual Summit.
Kincaid, a repeat finalist who was also considered for a seat on the bench last year, is defined in both life and work by a simple motto, Rush said – “Work hard and be nice to everyone.” The chief justice noted that without Kincaid’s efforts, the implementation of the Odyssey case management system would have been significantly delayed in Boone County.
Now that Holcomb has received Rush’s letter, he has 60 days to select the next justice from among the trio of finalists. The full letter can be read here.