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Panel recommends 3 Indiana Supreme Court finalists

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana’s Judicial Nominating Commission on Friday named the three finalists it is recommending to Gov. Mike Pence to fill an upcoming vacancy on the state’s Supreme Court.

The seven-member commission on Friday selected St. Joseph Superior Judge Steven L. Hostetler, Boone Superior Judge Matthew C. Kincaid and attorney Geoffrey G. Slaughter.

Kincaid graduated from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 1997 and after private practice became a judge in 2003.

Hostetler graduated in 1983 from Indiana University School of Law in 1983, worked for a Mishawaka law firm and the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department before ascending to the bench in 2013.

Slaughter is a 1989 graduate of the Indiana School of Law and was an associate in the Chicago law firm Kirkland and Ellis before joining the staff of Indiana’s attorney general’s office. He returned to private practice in Indianapolis in 2001.

One of the three will replace retiring Justice Brent Dickson. Pence will have 60 days to select one of the three for his first appointment to the state’s highest court.

Pence’s predecessor and fellow Republican, Mitch Daniels, appointed Justice Steven David in 2010 and Justice Mark Massa and Justice Loretta Rush in 2012, after the retirements of three members of the court. Rush was named the court’s chief justice in 2014.

Dickson will step down April 29 before reaching the court’s mandatory retirement age of 75. His departure will mean four of the court’s five justices will have been appointed since 2010.

Twenty-nine people applied for the vacancy on the bench. The seven-member commission conducted a first round of interviews in mid-February with the field of 29 applicants for Dickson’s job and chose the 15 semifinalists in February.

According to spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan, the commission considered applicants’ legal education, writings, reputation in the practice of law, and other pertinent information in making its choice.