Friday, March 23, 2012

Indiana Supreme Court To Remain All Male After Daniels Names Massa

It's mightily hard for Gov. Mitch Daniels to claim he named another male to the Supreme Court because he was the most qualified candidate. Several other more qualified candidates were passed over by the Indiana Judicial Qualficiations Commission, including two of the finalists from last year, Indianapolis appellate attorney Karl Mulvaney and Marion Superior Court Judge Robyn Moberly, when Gov. Daniels chose Justice Steven David to take the place of retiring Justice Ted Boehm. Today, Daniels chose Mark Massa, his former chief counsel, to fill the very big shoes being vacated by Chief Justice Randall Shepard, whose last day on the job was today. Daniels passed over Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Cale Bradford and the only female finalist, Indianapolis attorney Jane Seigel, both of whom had experience and qualifications that arguably exceeded Massa's. Nobody can argue with the fact that Massa was the most politically-wired candidate of the three finalists. The Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission will now have the task of choosing the next chief justice from among the sitting justices.

The disappointment with Massa's appointment could be felt in the reporting by female reporters like the Star's Mary Beth Schneider. "With Massa’s pick, Indiana remains one of only three states in the nation with no women on the highest court. Daniels chose Massa, who currently is executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, over Jane Ann Seigel, executive director of the Indiana Judicial Center, and Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Cale Bradford." Schneider continued:

Daniels said he would have liked nothing better than to appoint a woman to the court, but giving that diversity did not trump finding the best person for the job.
“I would like nothing more than to appoint yet another woman to the bench or any other high office. I do it when I can,” he said. “But it does not trump the need to get the very best person available. Under our system I don’t get to look all over Indiana. I’m limited to the choices that are brought to me. In this case, I’m 100 percent certain I’ve chosen the best of those three.”
The Indiana Law Blog's Marcia Oddi commented: "[I]t reminds me of the old story about Ginger Rogers, to equal Fred Astaire she had to perform while dancing backwards in high heels. "

Indiana State Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb released a statement lauding Massa's appointment by Gov. Daniels:
"Mark Massa is a thoughtful and respected public servant and member of our community whose guiding principle will be to faithfully protect and follow our State and National Constitutions. 
"His impeccable record of service in Governor Daniels' office, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and as a clerk to then-Chief Justice Shepard, among other assignments, makes him an ideal choice to be our next Supreme Court Justice."

1 comment:

Marycatherine Barton said...

Daniel's choices demonstrate politics-as-usual, with most Marion County voters allowance.