Indiana governor appoints Molter new Supreme Court justice

Governor Eric Holcomb

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor on Friday appointed state appeals court judge Derek Molter to the Indiana Supreme Court to replace Justice Steven David when he retires this fall.

Gov. Eric Holcomb chose Molter, who became a judge on the state’s Court of Appeals in October 2021, from among three finalists selected in April by Indiana’s Judicial Nominating Commission. The Republican governor had 60 days to choose one as David’s successor on the five-justice court.

In announcing his pick, Holcomb praised Molter as a “brilliant legal mind.”

“What also shines through very quickly is he is humble and caring and collaborative — three traits that I think will serve not just his career but our state well,” Holcomb said from the governor’s office at the Indiana Statehouse.

Holcomb chose Molter last year to serve on the state appeals court to replace retiring Judge James S. Kirsch. Prior to that, Molter had worked in private practice for more than a decade.

A native of northwestern Indiana’s Newton County, Molter earned his law degree in 2007 from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, graduating in the top 3% of his class.

He spent a year as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Theresa Springmann in Fort Wayne before joining a Washington, D.C., law firm where he worked from 2008 to 2012. Molter then worked for Indianapolis-based Ice Miller LLP between 2013 and 2021.

Molter, 40, is married and has three children. His wife, Katie Kristine Molter, is also an attorney.

He said Friday that he’s feeling “pride” and “excitement” and looks forward to joining the court.

“Our court is filled with extraordinary talent. They all learn from each other, they work well together, so what we need to do is continue doing that,” Molter said.

Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said Friday it has not yet been determined when Molter will officially join the court.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush announced last November that David would retire in the fall of 2022 after 12 years on the state’s highest court.

David was appointed by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2010 upon the retirement of Justice Ted Boehm, and he’s the court’s longest-serving current justice.

All of the high court’s justices were appointed by Republican governors. Molter is Holcomb’s second pick; He appointed Justice Christopher Goff in 2017.

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