Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday after coming into contact with a family member who had the virus, according to a press release from the court.
Rush is currently in self-quarantine and working from home, the release said. She has not been to the statehouse since Sept. 1.
The Supreme Court and Clerk’s Office will remain open with safety measures in place.
Who is Loretta Rush?
Chief Justice Loretta Rush is one of the longest serving judges on the Indiana Supreme Court.
Rush was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 2012 by Gov. Mitch Daniels. She was named chief justice in 2014 and again in 2019 by the state’s Judicial Nominating Commission.
On top of deliberating cases that make it to her bench, Rush is also in charge of managing the state’s judicial system, with the power to make decisions on how court programs are administered and funded across Indiana.
COVID and the courts
Rush and her colleagues at the Indiana Supreme Court played a major role in helping lower courts adapt their operations during the pandemic. As chief justice, she oversaw everything from approving county court reopening plans to allowing hearings to take place over video calls until the start of 2021.
COVID-19 has upended in-person court services across the state.
Nearly half a year after Governor Eric Holcomb declared a public health emergency in March, county courts are slowly starting to resume jury trials. The Marion County Superior Court began hosting felony jury trials at the end of August. Lower felony and misdemeanor trials in the county will start this week.
Courts are also seeing a backlog of eviction and foreclosure cases after Indiana’s eviction moratorium expired on August 14.
The state has since launched an out-of-court conflict resolution initiative called the Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program, which will help tenants and landlords come to agreement without having to bring their case in front of a judge.
A full list of how the courts have been changing their services due to Covid-19 can be found at the Indiana Supreme Court’s website.
Johnny Magdaleno is courts reporter for IndyStar. Contact him at email@example.com or call 317-273-3188.