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August 2, 2012

THEIR OPINION: Aug. 2, 2012


Daniels urged to name woman to Indiana Supreme Court

Message to Gov. Mitch Daniels: It’s time to name a woman to the Indiana Supreme Court.

In fact, it should have been done a long time ago. Indiana has had only one woman serve on the five member court — Myra Selby from 1995 to 1999. It’s high time another one was named to the bench.

A vacancy opened up on the court with the retirement of Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. He plans teach at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

Last week, the 10 high court finalists were named by the Judicial Nominating Commission. Six of the finalists are women, including two from East Central Indiana — Judges Marianne Vorhees of Delaware Circuit Court 1 and Mary Willis of Henry Circuit Court 1.

The commission will interview the finalists and winnow the list down to three. Daniels will then choose the new justice.

Why does it matter if a woman serves on the court?

That’s simple: A woman has a set of life experiences no male can ever have. And those experiences do count when handing down legal decisions from the bench.

Here’s another reason: Women make up at least half the population.

Shouldn’t that be reflected on the bench if the court is to be representative of everyone? Equality deserves more than lip service.

Daniels has been criticized in the past for naming two men to the high court during his term in office.

If one were to bet, smart money says to count on him naming a woman this time around.

Finally, gender diversity on the state’s high court would bring the state into the 21st century.

Daniels has been a leader unafraid of blazing new trails, of discarding business as usual. In this instance, he wouldn’t be breaking new ground, but returning the state to where it should never have strayed.

— The Star Press, Muncie

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