Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, the longest serving chief justice on any state’s supreme court, is retiring.
Shepard, who will turn 65 this month, announced Thursday that he will leave the bench in March 2012.
There is much the longtime chief justice will miss about his job.
“It’s a rainbow that looks different almost every day you walk in the door,” Shepard said. “I work in this wonderful building (the Indiana Statehouse) and I get to watch the comings and the goings in state government and elsewhere close up. It’s a wonderful place to spend a life.
Shepard graduated from Princeton University, Yale Law School, and the University of Virginia Law School before being appointed to the court in 1985 by then Governor Robert Orr. He became chief justice in 1987 and stayed there for what will have been 26 years.
“Most Hoosiers recognize the historic place Randy Shepard will always hold in Indiana judicial history. What fewer people may know is there is no more nationally respected Supreme Court judge in any state in America, and this has been so for a very long time,” Governor Mitch Daniels said in a statement Thursday.
The Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission will begin its search for a successor, with interviews in February. Once the commission names three finalists for the job, the governor will make a selection.
“I look forward to identifying and appointing a person of highest character and quality, but I have no illusions we are likely to find another Randy Shepard now or anytime soon,” said Daniels.
During his tenure on the court, Shepard authored nearly 900 civil and criminal opinions. He also wrote 68 law review articles.