Governor Mitch Daniels has chosen Tippecanoe County Judge Loretta Rush to replace retiring Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan. Rush will be the only woman on the bench and the second woman to ever sit on the state’s high court.
Many in the legal community urged the governor to name a woman to the bench. While Daniels says he was not oblivious to those calls, quality was his first concern.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to think that that really was a necessary factor here,” he says. “I do believe she was clearly the best available choice.”
Rush says it is important to have a woman on the bench but says she does not feel extra pressure as the court’s lone female.
“As a judge in Tippecanoe County, I was the only elected female judge,” she says. “I like working with other judges, so I think it won’t be an issue.”
Rush says she believes in judicial restraint and cited U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia’s judicial philosophy as a model for the type of justice she would like to be.
Rush, who will be Indiana’s 108th Supreme Court justice, currently serves in Tippecanoe County’s Superior Court 3, a court that handles juvenile cases. Prior to being elected as a county judge, Rush ran her own general practice firm that focused largely on children and family issues.
Hamilton County judge Steven Nation and Indianapolis attorney Geoffrey Slaughter were the other two finalists for the position. The Indiana Judicial Commission narrowed down a list of 22 applicants to three before Daniels then made the final selection.
The governor has named three justices during his time in office. He chose Steven David to replace retiring Justice Theodore Boehm in 2010. Then he chose Mark Massa earlier this year to replace state Supreme Court Justice Randall Shepherd.
Gretchen Frazee contributed to this report.