A complete turnover in the Supreme Court bench, an expansion of judicial training options and a continued commitment to court technology has poised the Indiana judiciary in a state of hope for the future.
That’s the message Chief Justice Loretta Rush shared during the 2018 State of the Judiciary address, which she presented to a joint session of the Indiana General Assembly. Rush’s Wednesday speech was her fourth State of the Judiciary address as chief justice.
This year’s State of the Judiciary focused heavily on the ongoing opioid crisis, which featured in nearly every topic Rush discussed. For example, a new Supreme Court rule allowing for judges to operate outside of their counties of immediate jurisdiction has facilitated the development of regional drug courts, she said. Additionally, the creation of the court’s national drug tracking system has “blocked thousands of precursors from ever getting to the street.”
The chief justice also highlighted her colleagues on the Supreme Court bench, which has now completed a full turnover between Justice Steven David’s appointment in 2010 and Justice Christopher Goff’s appointment in 2017. Nevertheless, the new court offers a combined total of 150 years of legal and judicial experience, she said.
“Our greatest strength is our collective decision-making ability,” Rush said.
The address began with photos of 2017 National Adoption Day celebrations, which allowed cameras into courtrooms to celebrate the adoption of children across the state. Rush ended her address by likening the hope National Adoption Day offers to the hope she feels for the future of the judicial branch.
“We began today looking at the hope-filled faces of children in courthouses across the state,” Rush said. “With this new Court, our appellate and trial colleagues, and unified staff, I stand before you with confidence that your courts are ready to meet the challenges ahead.”
For more on the 2018 State of the Judiciary, see the Jan. 24 issue of Indiana Lawyer.