September 23, 2015 // Local

Chief Justice Loretta Rush to speak at Red Mass dinner

Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush

By Tim Johnson

FORT WAYNE — Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels to the Indiana Supreme Court in 2012. She is the 108th justice. The St. Thomas More Society has invited Chief Justice Rush to be the speaker at a dinner following the Red Mass.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will celebrate the Oct. 6 Red Mass, which gets its name from the red vestments of the celebrant. The vestments represent the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit, and from the brilliant scarlet robes worn by the Lord High Justices of the Middle Ages.

The Mass is celebrated to invoke divine guidance and strength during the coming term of court, and is celebrated in honor of the Holy Spirit as the source of wisdom, understanding, counsel and fortitude; these gifts of the spirit being essential in the dispensation of justice in the courtroom, as well as in the individual lawyer’s or civil servant’s office.

Justice Rush will discuss why humility is the beginning of true justice.

She told Today’s Catholic, “When we recognize that we are imperfect at administering justice, we are implicitly acknowledging that there is such a thing as justice — that it’s real,  that we didn’t create it. And that it’s something that’s judging us, instead of the other way around.”

“Ultimately, our fair and open courts are about one thing: Justice,” Chief Justice Rush added. “As I said in this year’s State of the Judiciary, our courts exist to fulfill the constitutional promise of justice. We are more than referees of the business community, or the tie-breakers in family feuds. But how can we fulfill that promise of justice?”

Serving on the Indiana Supreme Court, Justice Rush said, “I look forward to a time when a woman on the bench is unremarkable. Justice Myra Selby was the first woman to serve on the Indiana Supreme Court; I am proud to follow in her footsteps. I am also deeply grateful for my four colleagues who have tremendous wisdom — I am proud of our collective work.”

As the Chief Justice, Rush is responsible for supervising the entire judicial branch. In addition to these administrative duties and working on cases and writing opinions, she currently serves on the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana and the Indiana Conference for Legal Opportunity Advisory Committee. She also chairs the Judicial Nominating/Qualifications Commission.

Justice Rush also has special interest in family matters.

“As a lawyer I did pro bono work for children and families and saw the need first hand,” she said. “As a juvenile court judge I spent countless hours seeing the harm done to children that are in desperate need of both hope and protection. Still, along with others I realized we can make a difference.”

The wife of Deacon James Rush, who is assigned to St. Lawrence Church, Lafayette, Justice Rush, like most wives of deacons, finds importance with her involvement in school and parish life. “Our children attended Catholic school and I enjoyed volunteering at the school,” Chief Justice Rush said. “I also have served as a Eucharistic minister and taught Sunday school. So my interaction with my Church community preceded my husband’s calling. I did attend religious education sessions during my husband’s preparation to be ordained a deacon.”

The deacon will assist at the 5:30 p.m. Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Justice Rush said her Catholic faith helps to shape her career. “There are many valuable teachings regarding wisdom, humility and justice that come from the Church,” she said. “Without humility — we cannot have justice.”

Born in 1958 in Pennsylvania, Rush moved frequently as a child before settling in Lafayette for her adult life. She earned her undergraduate degree from Purdue University and graduated cum laude from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. She now serves as a member of the law school’s Board of Visitors.

Prior to her appointment to the Indiana Supreme Court, Justice Rush served as Tippecanoe Superior Court 3 judge for 14 years. The court focuses on CHINS, criminal and status offenses of juvenile cases, guardianships, delinquencies and protective order hearings. She assisted with the creation of the Tippecanoe County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program.

Prior to being elected judge, she spent 15 years in general practice as an associate and then partner at a Lafayette firm. Her practice consisted of civil litigation, family law, business, personal injury, corporate, probate and workers compensation cases.

Rush has served as the chair of the Indiana Juvenile Justice Improvement Committee, which involves statutory and regulatory efforts to bring better and standardized child welfare practice to Indiana. She was chair of the Indiana Court Improvement Program Executive Committee and Child Welfare Improvement Committee, served on the Indiana Supreme Court Judicial Technology and Automation Committee, and was president of the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She also serves on the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and was appointed to the National Judicial Leadership Summit on the Protection of Children.

Justice Rush has served on the YWCA and Tippecanoe County Community Corrections boards. She is a member of the Tippecanoe, Indiana and American Bar Associations. In 2003 she was honored to receive the Kinsey Award for Juvenile Judge of the Year and in 2001 was presented with the Fiscal Responsibility Award by the Tippecanoe County Council and Commissioners.

She and her husband have four children.

Red Mass to be held Oct. 6

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will celebrate the Red Mass for lawyers, judges and civil government officials on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. The St. Thomas More Society of Fort Wayne is hosting the event.

The renewal of this ancient tradition invokes God’s blessing on all those who serve the law. All are invited to the Mass. Loretta H. Rush, the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, will be the featured guest and speaker at the dinner following the Mass.

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