New book profiles Indiana's Supreme Court justices

2011-03-27T17:45:00Z 2011-03-27T20:11:32Z New book profiles Indiana's Supreme Court justicesBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | The 105 men and one woman who have served as justices of the Indiana Supreme Court include some of the state's greatest public servants, with a few political hacks thrown in for good measure.

A new book, "Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court," profiles each justice, detailing in a few pages their backgrounds, how they got on the state's high court and what they did while on the bench.

Justice Robert Rucker, of Gary, and Justice Brent Dickson, a Hobart High School graduate, are included. As are several Lake County Republicans who served on the court in the early 20th century.

Prior to a 1970 constitutional amendment, justices ran for the court every six years in partisan elections, which led to greater turnover on the court as political parties gained or lost favor with voters.

Currently, the governor selects a new justice from among three candidates recommended by a judicial nominating commission. Hoosiers then vote every 10 years on whether to keep that justice on the bench.

The judicial biographies in the 467-page book were written by 66 contributors and compiled and edited by professors Linda Gugin and James St. Clair of Indiana University-Southeast.

In the book's introduction, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who grew up in Long Beach, Ind., said the vignettes "tell how public-spirited individuals have transformed a frontier court into today's dynamic and innovative institution."

Current Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard said he hopes the book will encourage Hoosiers to learn about their past.

"This book has remarkable historic value," Shepard said. "We are thrilled that students, educators and the public will have this resource that showcases the rich history of the third branch of government."

The book is published by Indiana Historical Society Press and available for sale at retail and online booksellers at a list price of $37.95.

Indiana schools, libraries and teachers can receive a free copy of the book by sending a request to Sarah Kidwell at skidwell@courts.state.in.us.

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