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New Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice To Be Chosen Tuesday

Chief Justice Randall Terry Shepard waves from the podium prior to the start of the State of the Judiciary Speech.

A panel Tuesday will choose Indiana’s new Supreme Court Chief Justice to replace retired Justice Randall Shepard.

The Judicial Nominating Commission, which is comprised of three lawyers elected by the state Bar Association and three gubernatorial appointees, will choose the new chief justice from among the Court’s five members.  The chief justice serves a five-year term – but with no term limits.  IUPUI law professor Joel Schumm says communication and managements skills are among the qualifications the Commission will likely consider.

“Collegiality, ability to get along with other people is important as well, I think and under Chief Justice Shepard it was a very friendly, collegial Court and I’m sure the Commission will want to be sure that continues with the new chief justice,” Schumm says.

Schumm says interim Chief Justice Brent Dickson is a strong candidate – though he’ll have to retire before his five-year term would be complete.  The state mandates retirement at age 75.  Schumm says the other likely choice would be Justice Steven David, who’s been on the Court for a couple of years.

“[David] has been very active in giving speeches and being involved and talking to different groups of people and I think he would be a younger person that would be well respected in leading the Court,” he says.

Schumm says seniority doesn’t play much of a role in the choice. Chief Justice Shepard had only been on the Court for about two years when he was chosen.

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