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Monday, March 31, 2014

Ind. Courts - Sarah Evans Barker Announces Decision to Take Senior Status

Sarah Evans Barker was appointed to the federal bench 30 years ago and I remember it well. There were no women on the federal courts in Indiana, and few women judges anywhere in 1984. Here is the news release:

Today, the Honorable Sarah Evans Barker, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana, notified President Barack Obama of her intention to take senior status effective June 30, 2014.

Judge Barker joined the Court thirty years ago today, having been appointed by President Ronald Reagan, with the support of then-United States Senators from Indiana Richard G. Lugar and James Danforth Quayle. She was the first woman appointed to the federal court in Indiana, filling the vacancy created by the death of Cale J. Holder.

During her thirty year term as an active Judge of the Court, Judge Barker has held numerous appointments and assumed many other duties. She served as Chief Judge from 1994-2001, and has served terms on the Judicial Conference of the United States and its Executive Committee, Long Range Planning Committee, Standing Rules Committee, Budget Committee, and Judicial Branch Committee (ex-officio). She was appointed by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to serve on the Special Study Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability (the “Breyer Committee”). She was a member of the Devitt Award Selection Committee and served as a member of the Judicial Fellows Commission under the aegis of the Supreme Court. She is currently serving on the Judicial Conduct and Disability Committee, having been appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts. She also served a two-year term as President of the 900- plus member Federal Judges Association, composed of Article III Judges from across the country, from 2007 until 2009.

Judge Barker will continue to carry a full caseload until a successor is appointed by President Obama, with the guidance of Indiana’s United States Senators Joseph S. Donnelly and Daniel R. Coats. When her successor is appointed, Judge Barker expects to cut back her caseload to 80% of that of a full draw.

Chief Judge Richard L. Young remarked on behalf of the Court, “Judge Barker has long been a trailblazer in the legal community, from her initial appointment as the first woman Assistant United States Attorney, followed by becoming the first woman Federal Judge in Indiana, continuing to her current role as a member of the Court. In her thirty years as a district judge, she has bridged two judicial generations and provided valuable leadership and guidance to the bench and bar. We are very grateful for her continued service to the Court and the citizens of the Southern District of Indiana.”

Judge Barker stated: “It has been and continues to be an extraordinary privilege to serve as a federal judge in our Southern District. I have been the beneficiary of valuable, selfless guidance and support from many wonderful, highly talented colleagues, law clerks, court staff and lawyers, and most of all from my beloved husband, Ken, and our family. Over the years, of course, I have experienced many changes in the operations of the Court, the judicial system, and in my interactions with the bar. To have been in a position from time to time to give some of those changes a little encouragement and a nudge in the right direction has been both satisfying and fun. At heart, the things that drew me to this work initially remain the things that continue to attract and deserve my interest, my time, and my devotion: the opportunity to make a difference in the quality of justice in our state and in the lives of my fellow citizens.”

[More] The ILB has located this interesting 168-page (double-spaced) interview of Judge Barker, conducted by Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Nancy Vaidik for the ISBA oral history program.

Here is a 10-page bio from the Indianapolis Bar Association.

Judge Barker was president of her dorm, Sycamore Hall, while she was at undergrad at Indiana University.

ILB: Sycamore Hall was also my dorm, and I lived there during much the same time-frame, but did not know Sarah Evans. My most vivid memory of the period was sitting in the basement of Sycamore, in the TV room with the B&W grainy reception (where we all usually watched Gardner McKay in Adventures in Paradise), watching JFK's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, being escorted by burly law enforcement officers, and then suddenly shot dead by Jack Ruby.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 31, 2014 04:24 PM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions