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Justice Rucker: Grandkids, Desire To Travel Drove Retirement

Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Rucker discusses his pending retirement.

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert Rucker says he looks forward to spending more time with family as he prepares to step down from the court.

Rucker says he almost retired in 2012, when he turned 65 and was up for a retention vote. The 70-year-old says he hasn't decided exactly when he'll step down, but his retirement comes five years ahead of the court's mandatory retirement age of 75.

The Gary native and 26-year veteran of the bench is the only current justice appointed by a Democratic governor. But he says he doesn’t expect the court to become more conservative because, in Indiana, a partially independent panel chooses the three nominees for the gubernatorial appointment.

“I think that process eliminates the outliers and so you get what I like to call a group of raging centrists,” Rucker says.

For his successor, Rucker says he hopes for someone well-qualified and “independent of thought.”

“That gives voice at a table where oftentimes voices are not heard,” Rucker says. “So I guess I’m arguing in favor of diversity.”

Rucker says he and his wife, Denise, plan to spend more visiting their grandchildren and doing more traveling, especially in the Caribbean.

Rucker was the first black man appointed to Indiana’s Supreme Court. He will officially step down sometime this spring.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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