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Friday, April 21, 2017

Vacancy On Supreme Court 2017 - More news coverage

Zoie Richey of The Statehouse File writes:

The Judicial Nominating Commission has selected three nominees to fill the Indiana Supreme Court justice vacancy.

Justice Robert Rucker is retiring on May 12 after serving for 26 years.

The commission narrowed down the field from 21 applicants to the final three: Vicki Carmichael, Christopher Goff and Matthew Kincaid.

“I think all three of the finalists are very well qualified. The governor can’t go wrong in selecting any one of the three,” said Joel Schumm, clinical professor of law at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. “They have distinguished backgrounds as trial judges and as lawyers before that.”

Schumm sat in on the finalist interviews, and said the process allowed people to learn a lot about the court system.

"Judge Vicki Carmichael closer than ever to dream job: Clark County judge a finalist for Indiana Supreme Court" is the headline to Elizabeth DePompei's story today in the Clark County News & Tribune. Some quotes (the story also has a great photo):
JEFFERSONVILLE — This isn't the first time Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 Judge Vicki Carmichael has vied for a seat on the Indiana Supreme Court, but as one of three finalists, it's the closest she's ever been to realizing her dream.

"It's like wow, OK, this could really happen," Carmichael said by phone Thursday morning.

The day before, Carmichael, 54, sat in front of a seven-person Judicial Nominating Commission and made her case for why she should become the next justice for the state's highest court. She is one of 21 people who applied last month.

The pool of candidates was whittled down to 11 and on Wednesday, three candidates were chosen. They are: Carmichael, Boone County Superior Court I Judge Matthew Kincaid and Wabash County Superior Court Judge Christopher Goff.

Carmichael applied for a vacancy in 2009 and again in 2016 when Justice Brent Dickson retired. She said this time, Chief Justice Loretta Rush asked her why she keeps coming back.

"And I said because this is what I really want. I want a seat at the table. I want to be able to affect the judiciary and the citizens of Indiana," she said.

The commission will submit a report to Gov. Eric Holcomb in the coming days. Holcomb then has 60 days to appoint one of the nominees. In this case, because all of the finalists are sitting trial court judges, Holcomb will also be tasked with appointing a replacement judge in that county. * * *

The Circuit Court No. 4 judge's seat is up for election in 2018. Carmichael, a Democrat, was first elected to the court in 2007 and she intends to run again if not selected for the Indiana Supreme Court.

But Carmichael is hoping to convince Holcomb, a Republican, that she is the right person for the job. She knows politics are a part of the equation, but she doesn't think it will be the deciding factor.

"I think the commission and the governor both will look at the best qualified candidate," she said. "I've long been an advocate for non-partisan judicial elections. I don't think politics should play a role in being a judge at any level, and so that's what I hope to convince the governor's office."

Instead, it's her philosophy that Carmichael hopes seals the deal. The Bloomington native described herself as fair, impartial and unbiased.

"I'm not an activist judge where I try to go create new law and make new decisions that are going to change the way we've done things forever" she said.

"... Our role as judges, even at the trial court level, is to look at the facts before us, to look at the law that applies to that and make a decision. And it's not to create new law, it's not to create new precedent. We have to look at what was decided before and my philosophy has always been if somebody has had this issue before, let's look at how it was decided."

Carmichael said she expects a call from the governor's office in the next few days. Until then, and until Holcomb makes his choice, she and the other candidates are in a welcomed state of limbo.

"I am honored to be part of the three names going to the governor," she said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 21, 2017 09:04 AM
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Court - 2017