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State of Indiana

Methods of Judicial Selection: Indiana

Judicial Nominating Commissions

The commission on judicial qualifications also serves as the judicial nominating commission, which recruits and interviews applicants for vacancies on the supreme court, court of appeals, and tax court, and forwards to the governor the names of three nominees for each position. The nominating commission also selects the chief justice of the supreme court. The commission consists of seven members: the chief justice, who serves as chair; one lawyer elected from each of the three geographic court of appeals districts by bar members in that district; and one nonlawyer appointed by the governor from each geographic court of appeals district. Commission members serve three-year terms and may not be reappointed or reelected. Click here for statutes regarding the composition and operation of the state judicial nominating commission.

Superior court judges in Lake and St. Joseph Counties are appointed by the governor from candidates submitted by local judicial nominating commissions. The nominating commission for the superior court of Lake County consists of nine members: the chief justice or an appellate judge designated by the chief justice, who serves as chair; four lawyers elected by members of the bar in the county; and four nonlawyers appointed by the Lake County board of commissioners. At least one lawyer and one nonlawyer member must be a minority, and at least two lawyer and two nonlawyer members must be women. No more than two of the nonlawyer members may belong to the same political party. Commission members serve four-year terms. The nominating commission for the superior court of St. Joseph County consists of seven members: a judge of the supreme court or court of appeals appointed by the governor; three lawyers elected by bar members in the county, and three nonlawyers appointed by a selection commission made up of the St. Joseph circuit court judge, the president of the St. Joseph County board of commissioners, and the mayors of St. Joseph County's two largest cities. No more than two lawyer members, and no more than four commission members, may belong to the same political party. Commission members serve four-year terms. Click here for statutes regarding the composition and operation of the Lake County judicial nominating commission, and here for the St. Joseph County commission.

In Allen County, a local judicial nominating commission recommends candidates to the governor to fill mid-term vacancies on the superior court. The commission consists of seven members: the chief justice or an appellate judge designated by the chief justice, who serves as chair; three lawyer members elected by bar members in the county; and three nonlawyers, no more than two of whom may belong to the same political party, appointed by the governor. Commission members serve four-year terms.

For more information, see Judicial Merit Selection: Current Status.