Indiana Supreme Court

Let me start by saying that you can set your watch to Bud Selig making the wrong decision.  If he doesn’t reverse the ump’s call and give the guy a perfect game, it’s an outrage.  But I digress . . .

There is a vacancy on the Indiana Supreme Court for the first time since 1999 (Ted Boehm, an excellent judge and a terrific lawyer, announced that he will step down this fall).  The process for selecting his replacement is very different from the federal model and is worth talking about.

First, the Indiana Constitutions sets forth eligibility requirements for a Justice.  They must have been either: (1) a member of the state bar for at least ten years; or (2) a sitting state court judge for at least five years.  A commission chaired by the Chief Justice and made up of three political appointees and three attorneys elected by the bar association then screens the applicants and forwards three names to the Governor.  The Governor must pick one of these three nominees, and that person then becomes a Justice.  (There is no role for the State Legislature.)

Would something like this be a good idea at the federal level?  What do you think?

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Bryan Gividen says:

    This method seems like a bad idea on the federal level, though I would like too know more about how the three names are forwarded to the governor. (Must there be a consensus by the political appointees, lawyers, and Chief Justice, or is it the Chief Justice’s decision with the advice of the rest of the committee? Is there some other method altogether?) How that works could determine how bad of an idea this is. If it is the CJ’s discretion, it would seem that the good ole’ boys’ network would be a bit too institutionalized for my liking. Furthermore, it seems like the types of justices on the state court would be a reflection of who was originally appointed under the system and virtually un-reflective of popular will.

    Another potential problem is that the names presented to the governor could be structured so that only one candidate is really viable. Assuming that the qualifications were removed, an ultra conservative group might recommend Ann Coulter, John Yoo, and Richard Posner, knowing that Judge Posner would be perceived as less radical than the other two, even though he likely wouldn’t be approved as a nominee for the SCOTUS. Though I am over-dramatizing the situation, I would be interested to know if a similar situation does occur in Indiana were a vastly more qualified individual is recommended alongside two less-qualified candidates.

    Giving so much deference to the bar association also seems dangerous to the idea of popular sovereignty. Under this system, 4/7 of the individuals involved in the selection process must have attended law school in order to recommend a nominee. That gives, at the very least, the appearance of an aristocracy.

  2. elektratig says:

    I’m late to the party, but I’ve got to disagree with your assertion that Selig should have reversed the ump’s call. The excellent Baseball Crank is right:

    ” . . .[R]etroactively awarding Galarraga the out on the bad call, as so many sportswriters are now demanding, would be an awful idea. The Tigers didn’t protest the game (I don’t think, offhand, that a protest can be pursued by the winning team or on a safe/out call on the bases), so the one precedent (the 1983 pine tar game, when the league reversed an on-field decision to strip a home run from George Brett, requiring the game to be replayed from that point) doesn’t provide any support. And doing so just to preserve one player’s individual accomplishment is antithetical to the point of team sports, in which we celebrate individual achievements that are reached within the flow of the game. It’s not as if the league ordinarily does anything about blown calls even when they decide pennant races or postseason series. Galarraga will be remembered as the guy who earned the distinction, and in a way that’s close enough. Like Harvey Haddix, he’ll go down in history in a way that Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden won’t.”