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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ind. Courts - "Ind. chief justice not picked by governor, but process might not be immune from politics"

The AP story today by Charles D. Wilson begins with a new photo of the five Indiana justices, along with the heading:

This updated photo provided by the Indiana Supreme Court on June 18, 2014 shows the members of the Indiana Supreme Court. The are: Justice Robert D. Rucker, top left, Brent E. Dickson, Chief Justice, top center, Justice Steven H. David, top right; Justice Loretta H. Rush, bottom left; Justice Mark S. Massa. It's only been two years since Brent Dickson was named Indiana chief justice to lead an almost entirely new state Supreme Court. Now Dickson is stepping aside, and the question now is: Which of the remaining four justices will take his place?
Some quotes from the story:
INDIANAPOLIS — After two years of transition, the Indiana Supreme Court will soon be entering a new generation of leadership. And even though Gov. Mike Pence won't make the appointment, experts say politics could influence the selection of a new chief justice.

Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson's announcement last week that he was stepping aside as chief justice, along with the relative youth of most of the remaining justices, has created the possibility of another long-term leader like former Chief Justice Randall Shepard, who served as the state's top judge for 25 years.

Three of the four remaining justices are in their 50s. Justices must retire at age 75. Dickson is 72. A state commission made up of three lawyers picked by their peers and three gubernatorial appointees, led by the sitting chief justice, will meet Aug. 6 to select a replacement for Dickson, who is staying on as an associate justice until he hits retirement age.

Their pick could affect life in Indiana for years. The Supreme Court interprets both the constitutionality of Indiana statutes and the intent of the legislators who wrote them. Their decisions can not only set legal precedent, but influence legislation. The chief justice leads the court and serves as its public face.

The selection process is designed to be immune from politics, but experts say it may not be as pure as it appears.

ILB: Is is hard to see how Republican/Democratic party politics will enter into the picture, as the three contenders were all named by Governor Daniels. Little "p" politics, of course, will enter in and almost certainly already are at play.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 19, 2014 03:26 PM
Posted to Courts in general