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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Ind. Courts - New Seating Chart at the Indiana Supreme Court - and A Few Final Thoughts

Commentary by Joel Schumm, professor at Indiana University's Robert H. McKinney School of Law

After the Commission concluded its vote, Chief Justice Dickson spoke briefly with the media, followed by Chief Justice-designee Rush. We learned the two of them will talk soon about a transition date, which will occur sometime later this month. That means when the justices return to the bench for oral arguments on September 4, every justice will have a new seat. Here's a photo of the current seating arrangement.

Later on Chief Justice Rush will move to the center of the bench, and each justice will move one seat to the left (from the perspective of the audience facing the bench). Here's the new seating order.

The order of discussing cases at conference will change as well. Justice Rush, the most junior member of the Court, had previously spoken and voted first. As Chief, though, she will now speak last, and Justice Massa will speak and vote first, followed by Justices David, Rucker, and Dickson.

Chief Justice Dickson noted how outstanding each of the justices were and how difficult the decision was, looking to Commissioner Tom Rose, who said the Commission was faced with “an embarrassment of riches.” It is not always easy to tell how badly someone wants a job (and how disappointed he will be if not selected), but Justice Massa seemed the least interested. Justice Rucker’s interview was especially strong and engaging, and the experience and perspective he brings to the Court will hopefully remain, despite talk of retirement in 2012 and law clerk hiring patterns indicative of a possible departure.

What’s next? Justice Rush remarked how pleased she was that Chief Justice Dickson would remain on the Court and a resource for her as she begins the Chief Justice role. (Chief Justice Shepard left the Court in 2012 as Chief, of course, leaving then-Justice Dickson without the same resource on the Court, although still in town and even part of the judiciary as a senior judge on the Court of Appeals.) Justice Rush mentioned that a strategic plan would be developed, and the scope of that plan and possible innovations within the judicial branch will be interesting to watch.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 7, 2014 11:15 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts | Schumm - Commentary