By Alaa Abdeldaiem
INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence announced Monday his appointment of Indianapolis attorney Geoffrey Slaughter as the 109th Justice to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Slaughter, who is currently a partner in the Indianapolis office of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, was one of three finalists recommended by the state’s Judicial Nomination Commission to replace retiring Justice Brent Dickson.
Geoffrey Slaughter speaks Monday after being named to the Indiana Supreme Court. He was joined by his wife, Julie, and Gov. Mike Pence. Photo by Rachel Hoffmeyer, TheStatehouseFile.com
“I’m grateful for the trust placed in me, and I’m humbled by the prospect of serving as a justice of our state’s highest court,” Slaughter said. “For more than 20 years since I came back home to Indiana, I’ve had the privilege of litigating for our Supreme Court. Throughout that time, it has been rightly been recognized as a smart, hardworking and collegial court, and I pledge to do all I can to ensure that my service on the court only reinforces those qualities.”
Despite what Pence described as a “strong field” of candidates for the position—one that included finalists St. Joseph Superior Judge Steven Hostetler of South Bend and Judge Matthew Kincaid of Boone Superior Court in Lebanon—Slaughter’s reputation representing his clients over a 30-year career gave Pence confidence in his appointment.
“Geoff Slaughter has demonstrated a first-rate legal intellect, an unparalleled understanding of constitutional and antitrust law, a remarkable ability to think and write clearly on the most complex issues, and a steadfast commitment to improving the local and legal community,” Pence said. “I couldn’t be more grateful to have the opportunity to appoint someone like Slaughter to the Indiana Supreme Court.”
While Slaughter grew up with a family history in law, the Crown Point, Indiana native never pictured himself having the opportunity to serve on the state’s highest court, and after Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed now-Chief Justice Loretta Rush for the position in 2012, Slaughter heavily considered not re-applying this year.
“A few folks asked me if I would put my name in, and I said I was busy with my practice, have a lot going on. I enjoyed my day job and wasn’t looking to change,” Slaughter said. “I was persuaded to do otherwise, though, and I’m glad I did.”
Pence, who is running for re-election this fall, faced complaints that his announcement Monday contradicts the stance of his fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate, who want to leave the U.S. Supreme Court nomination open until after the upcoming election. The governor’s office, however, said Pence’s decision holds no association with the events unfolding in the nation’s capital.
The Indiana Constitution requires the governor to choose a justice within 60 days of the commission’s official notification of the final nominees. There is no deadline for nominating or appointing justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, however, making way for potential delay.
Pence believes his appointment of Slaughter to the state’s Supreme Court is one “that will continue to maintain Indiana’s tradition of careful application of the rule of law and bring both the intellect and the demeanor to this position that will make Hoosiers proud.”
Slaughter’s appointment will be effective on the day of his official swearing-in ceremony. The date has yet to be determined.
Alaa Abdeldaiem is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.