INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mitch Daniels ended an awkward drought for Indiana Friday by naming a woman to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Tippecanoe County Judge Loretta Rush gave the governor an “eek” and an excited yes when he called her Thursday with the news.
“You don’t know when you put your name in that you’ll be standing here. I might have probably bet against it four or five months ago but I believe in the process,” she said. “I believe you have to put yourself out for something you believe in.”
It was the third time Daniels had an appointment to the state’s highest court. He twice before tapped men for the five-member panel.
Until Friday, Indiana was one of only a few states without a female justice.
The first – and last – woman on the court was Justice Myra Selby, who left in 1999.
Daniels said he wasn’t oblivious to the fact that Indiana’s court was dominated by men but that he doesn’t want that discussion to diminish the stellar career of Rush.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to think that really was a necessary factor here,” he said. “I do believe she was clearly the best available choice. I’m totally comfortable with it, would have gladly made it on an utterly blind basis or if there were already two or three women on the Indiana Supreme Court.”
The vacancy was a result of Justice Frank Sullivan Jr.’s stepping down from the bench to teach at Indiana University’s law school in Indianapolis.