INDIANAPOLIS – Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull touted her jury trial experience and administrative skills Tuesday while interviewing to be the next Indiana Supreme Court justice.
Im excited to expand my career and my knowledge, she told the Judicial Nominating Commission.
Gull was one of 14 lawyers interviewed Tuesday with eight more scheduled today.
Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. is stepping down from the bench to teach at Indiana Universitys law school in Indianapolis. The seven-member commission, chaired by Chief Justice Brent Dickson, is tasked with narrowing the pool of applicants.
Everyone interviewed was given an identical question to begin the dialogue – naming what they thought would be the best and worst parts of being on the Indiana Supreme Court.
Gull said her highlight would be participating in the court of last resort and sometimes making history with legal rulings.
She was the first of the day not to use attorney and judicial discipline as her least favorite part, noting that the solitary nature of being a Supreme Court justice might be a struggle for her gregarious nature.
Gull said one of the strengths she would bring to the court is her eminent experience with jury trials – more than 500 as a prosecutor and judge.
Dickson questioned her lack of civil experience, noting half of the courts work is not criminal.
She said she has a vast amount of administrative experience running a court system with a large staff and multimillion-dollar budget. She also served on a number of judicial committees.
But Gull conceded she would learn a lot from her colleagues on the bench and said she is a quick study.
She opened by calling herself a rule of law person, saying she is a stickler for the rules. As for her judicial philosophy, Gull said she is a strict constructionist, saying, If the statute is clear, whether I agree with the statute or not, I will apply it.
Gull also chatted amiably with the commission members about her pet dogs and her sons military service as a weapons specialist serving his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.
The commission will winnow the 22 applicants to a semifinalist list today. A second round of interviews will be Aug. 8 and 9.
Then a list of three finalists will be sent to Gov. Mitch Daniels for him to choose the next justice. It will be his third appointment to the five-member court.