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Indiana Supreme Court finalists discuss judicial philosophy, diversity

Lauren Chapman

Hoosiers will learn within the next couple of months who their new state Supreme Court justice will be.

The Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission conducted public interviews with 10 candidates this week before choosing three nominees.

Many of the candidates were asked about judicial philosophy, particularly when it comes to how much consideration judges should give the legislative branch. Finalist Derek Molter, an Indiana Court of Appeals judge, explained his view.

“Even if it seems poor policy choice or there be a better way to do things, the court must always defer to the legislature,” Molter said.

Some candidates were asked about their personality, their demeanor. Grant County Judge Dana Kenworthy, another finalist, acknowledged that she’s an introvert, very quiet – something she said she’s been asked a lot about through the process.

“My words are obviously not loud, but my actions are and my legacy is," Kenworthy said. "And I am not done yet.”

READ MORE: Three finalists chosen for next Indiana Supreme Court justice

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The potential nominees were also asked about diversity – or lack thereof – in the legal profession and how the Supreme Court can improve it. Supreme Court Chief Administrative Officer Justin Forkner, the third finalist, said he’s already worked towards that in hiring practices.

“When we accept the premise of things like unconscious bias in decision-making, you have to be consciously unbiased to fix that,” Forkner said.

The governor will pick the next justice from those three finalists. They will replace retiring Justice Steven David, who announced his retirement last November.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.