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Gender A Questionable Factor In Supreme Court Finalist List

The list of potential replacements for outgoing Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan is smaller as ten semi-finalists have been named.

Sixteen women and six men applied to fill Justice Frank Sullivan’s seat. Four of the six men were named semi-finalists by the Judicial Nominating Commission, compared to only six of the 16 women.

Only one woman has ever served on Indiana’s Supreme Court, and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law professor Joel Schumm says he was a little surprised by a few of the people who advanced.

“I understand that some people are upset that men are overrepresented in terms of the overall applicant pool,” he says.

But Schumm says what is most important are the three finalists that will be sent to the governor next month, and how many women are on that list.

Court of Appeals judge Elaine Brown is one of the applicants who did not make the cut this time. She thought she had a good interview but says the nominating process is a mystery.

“While personally I feel gender is an important consideration, it may not be on the mind of the commission members to the extent I would have thought,” she says.

Brown says she thinks the court should have a woman on it for balance but adds the final decision is the governor’s.

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