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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Vacancy On Supreme Court 2017 - Round 2: Report On Interview #4, Mr. William N. Riley

This is Prof. Joel Schumm's report on the 4th interview of Round 2

Mr. William N. Riley, Indianapolis (photo) (application) (first interview)

When asked about why he applied, Mr. Riley mentioned comments made by the Chief Justice at a conference and that he has long known Judge Nation. Mr. Riley feels “called to serve.”

When asked about a holding he would defend, Mr. Riley cited a recent termination of parental rights case and that we should seek to preserve the rights of parents whenever possible.

In response to a question from Mr. Young about his role as a trial lawyer and how that translates to the work of a justice, Mr. Riley said whenever he approaches a case there is “fear” that he does not want to let the client down. He would bring the same fear that he does not want to let the citizens of Indiana or his colleague down.

In response to a question from Ms. Long about what he did to prepare for the interview, Mr. Riley said he reviewed the annual reports since 2000, tried to get a handle on the Court’s administrative role, started reading the Scalia book on interpreting texts, read the last 34 opinions of the Court, and read Appellate Rule 7(B) that he was asked about last interview. The most surprising thing he learned was that Indiana was about 74 judicial officer short of what it needs.

In response to a question from Ms. Kitchell about a procedural rule he would like to be changed, Mr. Riley said we could “borrow” initial disclosures from federal court, which could expedite discovery and reduce disputes.

In response to a question from Mr. Feighner about impressive letters of recommendation from adversaries, reading from one of them about Mr. Riley’s “genuine respect for the law and each person” he encounters in a case, Mr. Riley said the law is what holds our society together. Although his father was not a lawyer, he inherited his father’s respect of lawyers. Opposing counsel is doing their job, and there is no reason to be disagreeable. He calls many of them friends.

Mr. Yakym asked which of the 34 opinions Mr. Riley had read that stand out. Mr. Yakym discussed cases that deal with his practice, like the collateral source rule. He has not dealt with criminal cases since law school,

Mr. Berger read Article 1, Section 23, and asked how many occasions the General Assembly has violated that provision by special legislation. Mr. Riley said he would want to know how many times the issue had been brought to this Court and would want to consider those opinions. Mr. Riley would want to consider the text of that provision in bearing on what the legislature had done. He said he would not want to prejudge anything, if the issue comes before the Court.

In response to a question about the importance of stare decisis, Mr. Riley said stare decisis is especially important but sometimes the Court needs to overrule it, citing Brown v. Board overruling Plessy v. Ferguson.

In response to a question from Mr. Young about things Mr. Riley has done to promote diversity, Mr. Riley said he always wants to hire the best person for the job and always he looks at all applicants. He noted that he has mentored and worked with a lot of female associates in his firm.

In response to a question about his commitment to judicial restraint, Mr. Riley said it is not the position of judges to impose their views. Judges must apply what the law says and let the legislature correct it if there is an error.

In response to a question about his most radical action, Mr. Riley said he took up golf a year ago and wanted to have something to do with his son who is now fourteen.

In response to a question from Mr. Feighner about what clients who had lost a case would say about him, Mr. Riley said he helped them tell their story, which is cathartic.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 18, 2017 12:02 PM
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Court - 2017