Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert D. Rucker will step down from the bench in the spring of 2017 after 26 years on the bench. He is Indiana’s 105th Supreme Court justice. Rucker said, “It has been an honor to serve Hoosiers for a quarter century.”
Chief Justice Loretta Rush describes Justice Rucker as a humble, brilliant, and conscientious public servant. She said, “Justice Rucker’s contributions to Indiana’s jurisprudence are remarkable. His legal scholarship is innovative and insightful in applying constitutional values. His body of work stands as a powerful illustration of the guidance courts provide for the peaceful resolution of disputes encompassing nearly every facet of Hoosier life.”
Justice Rucker was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Frank O’Bannon in 1999. During his tenure, he has served with 8 other justices (Boehm, Shepard, Sullivan, Dickson, David, Massa, Rush, and Slaughter). Prior to his Supreme Court appointment, Rucker served on the Indiana Court of Appeals having been appointed by Governor Evan Bayh in 1991. While on the Court of Appeals, he served with 23 other judges (Sullivan, Hoffman, Robertson, Staton, Buchanan, Garrard, Shields, Miller, Ratliff, Conover, Chezem, Baker, Sharpnack, Barteau, Najam, Friedlander, Riley, Kirsch, Darden, Bailey, May, Robb, and Brook). He was the first African American to serve on an Indiana appellate court.
During his judicial career, he has authored 1,235 civil and criminal opinions. He has served as vice-chair of the Indiana Commission for Continuing Legal Education, a member of the board of directors of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, a member of the board of directors of the Northwest Indiana Legal Services Organization, and as chair of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association.
Justice Rucker is married to Dr. Denise Rucker, and they have seventeen grandchildren. He was born in Canton, Georgia; grew up in Gary, Indiana; and is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. He graduated from Indiana University (B.A. 1974) and Valparaiso University School of Law (J.D. 1976), and he earned a Master of Laws degree in the judicial process from the University of Virginia Law School (1998).
The exact date Justice Rucker will step down from the bench in spring 2017 is not yet known. The Judicial Nominating Commission will search for a successor to fill the vacancy; applications for the position are available on the Court’s website at courts.in.gov/jud-qual/3306.htm and are due March 3, 2017.