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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ind. Courts - Do Law School Grades Matter in Selecting a Supreme Court Justice?

Here is IU-Indianapolis Law Professor Joel Schumm's report on the law school grades of the semi-finalists:

First on the list of statutory “considerations” for each member of the judicial nominating commission to weigh in evaluating Supreme Court applicants is “Legal education, including law schools attended and education after law school, and any academic honors and awards achieved.” IC 33-27-3-2(a)(1)

Question IV.B. on the application form directed candidates:“List below all law schools and post-J.D. programs attended. Attach a certified transcript from each to the original application and attach copies of each transcript to each application copy.”

In addition, the form asked for "Degree and Class Rank."

The next question asked applicants to “[d]escribe any academic honors, awards, and scholarships you received and when.”

Most applicants disclosed GPA and class rank on their applications; a few did not. The completed applications are posted online, but the transcripts were not included.

After reviewing the transcripts during Monday’s application open house, I was able to fill in a few of the gaps.

This list is sorted by GPA and offered with the caveat that grading practices at law schools may have changed over the years.

Semi-Finalist Law School Graduation Year GPA Rank (if provided)
Ms. Ellen Boshkoff IU (Maurer) 1990 3.83 Top 1%
Mr. Thomas Fisher IU (Maurer) 1994 3.55 Top 10%
Ms. Kiply Drew IU (Maurer) 1989 3.21 Top 15%
Judge Cynthia Emkes IU (Indy) 1985 3.13 48/225 (Top 22%)
Judge Steve David IU (Indy) 1982 3.00 71/210 (Top 34%)
Judge Robyn Moberly IU (Indy) 1978 2.93 cum laude
Mr. Karl Mulvaney IU (Indy) 1977 2.89 81/207 (Top 40%)
Judge Steven Nation IU (Indy) 1975 2.45* [left blank]
Sen. Brent Steele IU (Indy) 1972 2.33** [left blank]
*This is a weighted average. Judge Nation attended University of Puget Sound for his first two years of law school (57 credits with a cumulative GPA of 2.3) and Indiana University for the final year (24 graded credits with a GPA of 2.79).
**The transcript lists a cumulative GPA of 2.40 based on 196 (combined undergrad and law) GPA hours. The law school portion of the transcript includes 200 points for 86 graded hours, which yields an average of 2.33.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 28, 2010 03:46 PM
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Ct