Wednesday, July 07, 2010

And Then There Were Nine

That long list of 34 candidates for the Supreme Court vacancy has been narrowed to 9 semi-finalists by the Judicial Nominating Commission. They are the following:

Ellen Boshkoff, a partner at Baker & Daniels
Judge Steve David of Boone County
Kipley Drew, an associate general counsel at IU
Judge Cynthia Emkes of Johnson County
Thomas Fisher, Solicitor General for the Attorney General's office
Judge Robyn Moberly of Marion County
Karl Mulvaney, a partner at Bingham McHale
Judge Steven Nation of Hamilton County
Sen. Brent Steele of Lawrence County

The Indiana Law Blog makes the following observations about the group of semi-finalist candidates:

But, although a majority of the applicants were women (19), a slight majority—five—of the finalists are men (David, Fisher, Mulvaney, Nation, and Steele) and only four women (Boshkoff, Drew, Emkes, and Moberly) remain.

Four finalists are trial judges: David, Nation, Emkes, and Moberly. One is a state senator (Steele), and the other four are either big firm lawyers (Boshkoff and Mulvaney), in-house university counsel (Drew), or a governmental lawyer (Fisher).

Seven are from Indianapolis or a donut county, while only two come from other parts of the state: Drew is from Bloomington and Steele is from Bedford.

The ages range from 41 (Fisher) to 62 (Steele) with Drew (48), Boshkoff (49), Emkes (51), David (53), Moberly (56), Mulvaney (60), and Nation (60) rounding out the middle.
I think most objective observers would agree that the Commission tapped into the best talent it had among the 34 candidates. I'm surprised Judge Cynthia Ayers didn't make the cut simply because she was the only African-American candidate among the 34 up for consideration. There has been a strong presumption that Gov. Daniels wants to appoint a female candidate to the bench because there are none on the court currently. The only person Daniels appointed to the Court of Appeals that applied for the position, Judge Elaine Brown, has been eliminated. It turns out that the support she had from her fellow appellate court judges meant little to the Commission members. I was a bit surprised to see Sen. Steele make the cut. It is worth noting that the youngest candidate to make the cut, Fisher, at 41, is still older than Chief Justice Shepard was when he was appointed to the court while in his late thirties with virtually no experience other than a short tenure as a local judge in Vanderburgh County. His family was good friends with Gov. Robert Orr, who made the appointment. That move set off one of the ugliest episodes in the history of the Indiana Supreme Court. You can read more about that here if you're interested.

The Commission will now conduct a second round of interviews and recommend three finalists to the governor by the end of the month.


Cato said...

There is no list of "best," of any possible category, that finds Moberly on it.

She is an activist judge who completely ignores the law.

Jason said...

I'd be curious for a few examples, Cato. I don't see Judge Moberly that way at all.

Covenant60 said...

The final 3 will be Mulvaney, Emkes, and Boshkoff

Gary R. Welsh said...

Those would be three solid picks for the commission to send to the governor for consideration. I think Karl would get the nod hands down but for the pressure on the governor to appoint a woman. He's argued more cases before the Supreme Court than anyone else and he used to serve as the court's administrator for quite a few years. Emkes and Boshkoff are both very strong candidates with good experience for the job. They're all very capable writers. I'm biased towards Karl because I've worked with him a lot in the past, including one of the cases he argued before the Supreme Court. You could tell the judges really respect his arguments when he appears for oral argument. There probably isn't an attorney in the state that knows more about the court than Karl.

IndyPaul said...

Great piece on the Shepard-Pivarnik episode. I was not aware of it. My date and I sat with Shepard and his wife at the Barrister's ball one year. Everyone else had pre-arranged to sit with classmates.

Michael's prediction is sound, as is your analysis, AI. I also hold Karl in high esteem, though both age and gender may weigh against him this time. I had a case with Boshkoff a few years ago and would not be surprised if she got the nod.

TMcFadden said...


Let me just say, I practice in the Marion County Courts and Cato's comment is right on the money about Moberly. She doesn't seem to care about getting the law right in her rulings, she is very political (she is a liberal Republican and has connections to party leadership), and she is not afraid to imply that attorneys who challenge her might face repercussions down the road in other cases they have before her.

You have to understand though that attorneys can't be specific about rulings or incidents (or use real names) lest the criticism be traced back to the attorney. Attorneys don't want to hurt their current or future clients and in that courtroom I think there's a good chance that public criticism would come back to harm the attorney who made it...especially in that courtroom. We're not talking about someone with a good judicial temperment.