By Maureen Hayden
The Hendricks County Flyer
Tue Sep 25, 2012, 03:54 PM EDT
That was the word uttered time and again, with an exclamation point for emphasis, when Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced he'd picked a woman to sit on what's been the all-male Indiana Supreme Court.
Daniels' decision to appoint Tippecanoe County Judge Loretta Rush to the state's high court is history-making for a state with a big gender gap in its judiciary. Rush is only the second woman to sit on the court in its nearly 200-year history. Much has been and will be made of the fact that Rush is a woman. It should be.
There is a disproportionately low number of women on the bench in our lower courts as well: Only about 20 percent of the state trial court judges are women. But just as Daniels' prior two selections for the top court - Mark Massa and Steve David - are more than just their gender, Rush should be noteworthy for her work as well. Those who know her best praise her for her work as a juvenile court judge who has called on her community to help her help their most vulnerable and the most troubled children. She's reached out to schools, churches, community and business groups - to anyone she could find - to make the case that it's a shared responsibility to make sure no child is left behind.
Her "judicial activism" - in the best sense of the phrase - is even more compelling given a harrowing personal experience. In November 1998, a deeply troubled young man kicked open the door of her home and tried to kill her husband. She sustained injuries while protecting the couple's three children.
Rush knew the assailant: A decade earlier, as a lawyer in private practice, she was appointed by the court to act as his legal advocate - what's called a guardian ad litem.
At the time, he was only 14 but had suffered through a lifetime of misery - a ward of the court since the age of 2, followed by years of failed placements in homes and mental health facilities. He ended up spending the last part of his teen-age years incarcerated.
In her application to be considered for Indiana Supreme Court, Rush cited that experience as one of the most significant legal matters ever entrusted to her. Here is some of what she wrote about how that searing experience shaped her later role as a judge: "I look at the children that find themselves in our court system and understand the long-standing toll such things as child abuse, neglect, and untreated mental health can have on their adult lives. I look at all the parties and participants involved with any case, appreciate what they bring into the courtroom, and understand that it is often difficult and intimidating for witnesses and participants to testify before us as judges. I learned that mentors and volunteers working with the juvenile courts are critical. My family's ordeal heightened my resolve that our judicial system must always strive to earn the trust of the public and remain sensitive to, and protect the rights of all that come before us."
Those words seem more insightful than just saying that our newest justice is a woman.
- Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at email@example.com.
March 3, 2014
February 27, 2014
February 26, 2014
There was a wide array of reactions to Seattle DB Richard Sherman’s post-game “interview” with Erin Andrews following the Seahawks’ NFC title win over San Francisco.
Mine? Laughter, as the shout-down was the most entertaining thing I saw all day.
January 28, 2014
Butler is still a long way from saving its 2013-14 men’s basketball season, but if the Bulldogs turn it around fully and reach the NCAA Tournament, it will have started this past Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
January 21, 2014
A fine season for the Indianapolis Colts ended with a whimper Saturday at New England, but in recent team history, it was far from the most disappointing postseason defeat.
January 14, 2014
The Indianapolis Colts’ miraculous 45-44 wild card victory over Kansas City on Saturday ended just after 8 p.m. After leaving Lucas Oil Stadium, it took until around midnight for the pounding in my head to subside.
January 7, 2014
December 31, 2013
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
Call 911 from the side of the road, and GPS satellites can tell dispatchers exactly where to send help. Airline passengers have access to detailed maps that show exactly where they are during their journey. Hop onto WiFi, and somehow Google knows whether you're logging on from Lima or London, and will give you detailed suggestions about what to eat.
March 10, 2014
© 2014 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. ·
CNHI Classified Advertising Network ·
CNHI News Service
Associated Press content © 2014. All rights reserved. AP content may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Our site is powered by Zope. Some parts of our site may require
you to download the Flash Player Plugin.
Terms and Conditions
Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN
8109 Kingston St., Suite 500