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Friday, July 30, 2010

Ind. Courts - Some closing thoughts from Professor Schumm

Some closing thoughts this evening, from IU-Indy Law Prof. Joel Schumm:

I have a few closing thoughts about the selection process and the finalists. Warning: this might border at times on sappy, and I know some of you prefer sassy. (You can read earlier posts for the latter.)

First, as to the process, I wish more lawyers and members of the public would have seen the process firsthand; they would have been very impressed. The commission members—lawyers and lay members alike—obviously put a great deal of time and thought into reviewing the applications and preparing for the interviews. They treated all applicants with respect while sometimes pressing them (quite appropriately) on difficult issues. I have always been a big fan of merit selection, and the last few weeks has only solidified my view that this is the best way to select judges.

Congratulations to the three finalists, who all have different but very distinguished records. All share a lengthy amount of public service—Judge David and Judge Moberly as trial judges for a decade and a half, and Mr. Mulvaney in the Supreme Court Administrator’s office for just as long. Any of the three would be a very collegial and hard-working addition to the Court. Just a few words about each.

Judge David is obviously well-liked and respected by trial judges throughout the state, and every lawyer I know who has appeared before him has had very positive things to say. His work overseeing the delivery of pro bono services to detainees at Guantanamo Bay speaks volumes about a commitment to justice for all.

I’ve known Judge Moberly for several years through my work directing the law school’s Court Externship program, and she has been a wonderful mentor to law students and exceedingly gracious with her time when I’ve taken students to the City-County Building to see the courts and when she came to the law school to hold an oral argument. The breadth and depth of her experience on the bench (and in practice before that) will serve us very well if she is appointed.

Finally, I’ve known Karl for several years through the Appellate Practice section of the state bar. He knows as much about the Court and appellate process as anyone, yet he could not be more humble and gracious. Although his practice has involved a lot of complex civil cases, the answers during his interview demonstrate knowledge about and a commitment to a wide range of other issues--and concern for a fair process for all.

The Governor could not go wrong with any of these three remarkable finalists.

Without taking anything away from the first-rate male finalists, I am disappointed that only one woman advanced. Ms. Boshkoff and Ms. Drew in particular were impressive candidates who gave very strong interviews. There were other impressive candidates in the first round, and I certainly learned a great deal about law, the many different things courts do, and even some broader life lessons through their interviews.

Tonight is not the time to speculate about the Governor’s selection. Rather, the finalists deserve our sincere congratulations, and the other applicants deserve our thanks for taking the many hours necessary to compile their applications and for all the wonderful things they do as lawyers and judges.

And, finally, Marcia Oddi deserves a gold medal, at the very least, for the tireless effort and countless hours spent in bringing such up-to-the-minute and comprehensive coverage of this process—and so many other developments of Indiana law, through this remarkable blog.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 30, 2010 09:22 PM
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Ct