Indiana Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush will take over leadership of the court from Chief Justice Brent Dickson in the next few weeks after being chosen as the state’s next chief justice, and she brings unique experiences that could indicate how she will lead the court.
Rush has spent 32 years in the judicial system, as a lawyer, trial judge and Supreme Court justice.
Indiana University law professor Joel Schumm says those years of experience mean Rush will likely have a strong focus on transparency.
“Technology will continue to play a big part in the judiciary. Right now there’s efforts underway to allow things like e-filing of appellate briefs and I think under her leadership that sort of thing will continue and maybe even the pace of it will speed up,” Schumm says.
Rush is also the state’s first female chief justice, though she sidestepped questions about being a pioneer, noting she looks forward to a time when that sort of thing is unremarkable.
Schumm says a female chief justice can make a big impact.
“Almost half of the law students now are women yet women are a small fraction of partners at law firms and on the trial and appellate bench in the state, so having someone in the top spot in the judiciary I think means a lot certainly to lawyers but to the public at large because the Chief Justice is the face and voice of the entire judicial branch,” he says.
Schumm notes he thinks Rush was the best candidate for the job and doesn’t think her gender was a factor in the decision to name her chief justice.