According to a press release from the National Association of Women Judges, Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush received the Lady Justice Award during the NAWJ Annual Conference Oct. 5 to 7.
According to the NAWJ, the Lady Justice Award is given to “a member of the NAWJ community who uses their person and position with equanimity, respect, transparency and impartiality to advance the values of its mission to promote the judicial role in protecting the rights of individuals under the rule of law through strong, committed, diverse judicial leadership; fairness and equality in the courts; and equal access to justice.”
“The Lady Justice Award is one of our most distinguished awards because it is going towards a judge that we feel that in their person and their position are epitomizing the values of the NAWJ,” Judge Karen Sage, president of the NAWJ, said.
Chief Justice Rush, who attended Indiana University Mauer School of Law, is Indiana’s first female chief justice. She was appointed as a justice to Indiana Supreme Court in 2012 by Governor Mitch Daniels before being named chief justice in August 2014.
Rush explained women need to see other women in judge positions to know it’s possible for them as well.
“I was proud to be the first woman because when I went to law school, if someone asked me if I’d be a judge, there just weren’t any [female judges],” Rush said. "I've always been a proponent of women’s voices."
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Judge Sage said Chief Justice Rush stood out for such a distinguished award because of all that she has achieved and continues to achieve during her time serving on the bench.
Chief Justice Rush served as co-chair of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force, is a member of the National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness Executive Committee and was appointed by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to serve as a member of the Judicial Conference Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction, according to the Indiana Supreme Court.
During her tenure, Chief Justice Rush has worked to change laws to better protect juveniles both state-wide and nationally.
Chief Justice Rush said it is especially important for women in law to self-advocate.
“She is really trying to better the profession, better the system, and that is why she stands out,” Judge Sage said.
Chief Justice Rush said she was very touched to receive the award because of all the NAWJ has done for women in the legal profession.
“You see women really supporting the issue of the rule of law, democracy, and all it represents, so to get this award from them meant a lot to me,” she said.
Chief Justice Rush was reappointed to her position in 2019. As chief justice, she is responsible for supervising the entire judicial branch throughout the state.
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