Courts in the Classroom
Supreme Court of Indiana
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Dr. Elizabeth R. Osborn
Court History and
Public Education Programs
2011 Outstanding Public
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History
These 10 men have served the longest on the Supreme Court. The names marked by an asterisk are of those Justices who have served since the 1970 change to the Judicial Article. This constitutional change removed members of the Supreme Court from partisan elections and established a process for voter confirmation after entering office by an appointment from the Governor.
Isaac N. Blackford served on the court longer than any other justice. He was the 4th justice serving from September 10, 1817 to January 3, 1853 -- a term of 36 years and 8 months. Blackford was fervently opposed to slavery. He would not support William H. Harrison in the 1836 election because Harrison, as Indiana 's territorial governor, had supported a petition to Congress requesting the suspension of Article 6 of the Ordinance of 1787 which prohibited slavery.
Brent E. Dickson is the 100th justice and has been serving since January 6, 1986, making his term 28 years and counting. He attended Purdue University and was a managing editor of the Purdue Exponent, member of the Student Senate, and is a pianist in the Dixieland Band. After graduating, he earned his law degree at the Indiana University School of Law-Indy.
Roger O. DeBruler was the 95th justice serving from September 30, 1968 to August 8, 1996, a term of 27 years and 10 months. He is from Evansville, Indiana and graduated from the Indiana University School of Law. DeBruler was the only Justice this century to have run for election to the court and after the 1970 amendment went into effect, and later stand for a retention vote.
Randall T. Shepard is the 99th justice. He began his term September 6, 1985. He served 26 years on the Indiana Supreme Court. He graduated from Princeton University and earned his law degree at Yale Law School. When appointed Chief Justice in 1987, he was the youngest chief justice in the nation.
Richard M. Givan was the 96th justice serving from January 6, 1969-January 4, 1995, a term of 25 years and 11 months. Givan worked as an assistant librarian at the Indiana Supreme Court Law library and as a law clerk early in his career before becoming a justice.
Norman F. Arterburn was the 88th justice serving from May 23, 1955 to May 13,1977, a term of 22 years. He gradated with honors from Indiana University in 1923. He was instrumental in effecting the 1970 constitutional amendment to change the Supreme Court from an elective office to an appointed position. He was also the first permanent Chief Justice of Indiana under the new judicial article.
Samuel E. Perkins was the 9th justice and served two nonconsecutive terms separated by twelve years. Combining the two terms, he served for 21 years and 11 months. He first served from January 3, 1846 to January 3, 1865. He served on the supreme court created by Indiana's first constitution, until January 3, 1853, and then joined the supreme court created by the second Constitution on the same day. His second period on the bench was from January 1, 1877 to December 17, 1879.
James L. Worden was the 17th justice and like Perkins served nonconsecutive terms. He first sat on the court from January 3, 1846 to January 3, 1865 and then elected again from January 1, 1877 to December 17, 1879. Combining the two terms, he served for 18 years and 11 months. He served as mayor of Fort Wayne in 1865 but resigned after one year to focus on his flourishing law partnership with John Morris.
Donald H. Hunter was the 94th justice serving from January 2, 1967 to September 6, 1985, for a total of 18 years and 8 months. Justice Hunter was instrumental in promoting legal and judicial reform. He took part in the Indiana Constitutional Revision Commission. He was also an accomplished Lincoln historian, and was often asked to give speeches and addresses on the life of Lincoln .
Leander J. Monks was the 46th justice and served from January 7, 1899 to January 7, 1913, making his term exactly 18 years. He was active in Republican politics and served for a time on the Indiana Republican Central Committee. Justice Monks is the author of the extremely valuable Courts and Lawyers of Indiana .
These 10 men have served the shortest on the Supreme Court.