Wabash County judge nominated to Indiana Supreme Court

Wabash County judge Christopher Goff speaks June 12, 2017, at the Statehouse in Indianapolis about his nomination as an Indiana Supreme Court justice. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -– A man who is no stranger to Indiana law is heading to its highest bench.

On Monday, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced his pick for the state Supreme Court. After announcing Christopher Goff as the choice, the Hoosier held back tears as he accepted the position.

“When I began my career in Huntington, we had a 1986 Dodge Colt, $70 and two kids,” Goff said. “And if you would’ve told me then that I would’ve been on the Indiana Supreme Court, I would’ve told you, you didn’t know what you were talking about.”

There were three finalists, but Holcomb said Goff’s background made him stand apart. He graduated from Ball State University and Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Goff worked as an attorney in Huntington, and served as a public defender and is now at judge in Wabash County.

Holcomb said, “He has a profound respect for the Constitution and the rights and principles embodied within it.”

No date is set for swearing in Goff as a justice. He’ll serve two years, and then Hoosiers will decide whether to allow him to serve a 10-year term.

Goff said he believes in restraining his power, looking at the original constitutional meaning, and building consensus.

“I believe in collaboration, and I think that judicial decisions are best received if everybody can get behind them,” Goff said.

The judge is set to replace Justice Robert Rucker. He retired this spring after serving 18 years on the bench. Rucker was the only sitting African-American justice, but Holcomb said Goff is no stranger to race issues.

“Among them are the recognition he received in college for being the most-outstanding student of African-American history, and the fact that he has a racially diverse family,” Holcomb said.

It’s a new chapter Goff may not have seen coming, but one sure to keep him busy for years to come.

“We can’t wait for you to start, and I do have about a 3-inch binder of things that we can talk about once you’re done down here today,” Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush said.

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, reacted to the selection. He sent the Indiana Statehouse Bureau a statement.

I was pleased to learn of the appointment of Wabash County Superior Court Judge Christopher Goff to the Indiana Supreme Court. He possesses not only a rich judicial experience, but a varied legal background as a practicing attorney that will allow him to add a new perspective to what is already a very qualified bench.”

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