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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Vacancy on Supreme Court 2016 - Letters of Recommendation

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

Late last week, I went to the Indiana Supreme Court library to review the letters of recommendation submitted on behalf of the 15 finalists for the vacancy on the Indiana Supreme Court.

As discussed in this 2012 post, according to the application instructions, “The Commission will consider on behalf of each applicant a reasonable number of letters of recommendation.” Reasonable is not defined, and I had the impression that ten to fifteen was a reasonable number. Moreover, former Commission members who spoke at the ISBA “Demystifying” seminar in June 2012 emphasized the importance of quality over quantity. Although applications are posted online, letters of recommendation are not.

Although it’s impossible to provide a detailed review of 200 letters, I offer below the number of letters for each finalist(at the time of my review; more letters may have been sent since) and the names of some of the prominent political or judicial recommenders. All but one applicant is a Republican, and not surprisingly the letters skew Republican, although several applicants had noteworthy bipartisan support. All the letters were various shades of positive and glowing, except for a packet of information from a disgruntled litigant about one of the judicial applicants.

Judge Ahler (17)

Judge Carmichael (7)

Judge Cherry (9)

Judge Dolehanty (22)

Judge Felts (10)

Thomas Fisher (17)

Judge Gull (25)

Judge Hostetler (9)

Judge Kincaid (10)

Mark Lienhoop (14)

Judge Nation (12)

Peter Rusthoven (21)

Geoff Slaughter (8)

State Representative Washburne (10)

Thomas Wheeler (9)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 3, 2016 09:28 AM
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Court - 2016