INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mitch Daniels will not deviate from his criteria of merit, qualifications, principles and temperament in selecting Indiana's next Supreme Court justice — even as pressure grows to appoint a woman to the state's high court.
The Republican governor said Tuesday he doesn't need anyone to remind him Indiana is one of three states without a female Supreme Court justice but said he won't appoint a woman just to appoint a woman.
"Those who are eager to see it would serve their cause better by not making a whole lot more noise, because it would taint the choice," Daniels said. "Beyond some point it would discredit the person I pick if it looked like it was purely political or an appeal for cheap points."
The two-term governor previously has appointed female judges to the Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Tax Court. He's also selected women to serve as lieutenant governor and secretary of state.
Daniels dismissed concerns that female criminal defendants might feel more comfortable seeing a female justice on the Supreme Court.
"If I thought anybody — male or female — was going to make decisions based on gender or some other category, that would disqualify them immediately," Daniels said. "Justice must be blind."
Daniels has appointed two justices to the five-member court -- Steven David in 2010 and Mark Massa this year. Justice Frank Sullivan Jr., announced Monday he will leave the Supreme Court in August to teach law at Indiana University.
Applicants for the vacancy will be assessed and interviewed by the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission this summer. Daniels must select a new justice from among the three candidates recommended by the commission.