Molter named new Indiana Supreme Court justice

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric J. Holcomb selected Court of Appeals Judge Derek Molter as the next member of the Indiana Supreme Court on Friday.

Molter will replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Steven David, formerly of Columbus. David, who grew up in Columbus and was an attorney here in the late 1980s, says he intends to serve as a senior judge after his retirement. In addition, he will continue to chair the Commission on Equity and Access, as well as Indiana’s Conference for Legal Education. David, named to the court by former Gov. Mitch Daniels, was sworn in on Oct. 18, 2010. He announced his retirement in November.

“Derek Molter is devoted to the cause of justice and maintaining the integrity of our justice system,” Gov. Holcomb said. “He’s proven during his lengthy legal career and his tenure on the Indiana Court of Appeals his dedication to the critical role the judiciary plays in our system of government and the future of our state.”

Judge Molter was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Holcomb and began his service on Oct. 1, 2021.

“Derek Molter is a thoughtful and even-tempered judge,” Chief Justice Loretta Rush said. “From Newton County farming roots to pro bono work to Washington D.C. law firm experience, Derek brings a unique skill set that will be a lasting credit to the Indiana Supreme Court. It is a pleasure to welcome soon-to-be Justice Derek Molter.”

During his time on the Court of Appeals, Judge Molter has remained active as an officer in the Appellate Section of the Indiana State Bar, including recently leading an effort to organize an all-day continuing legal education seminar regarding state constitutional law.

Before joining the Court of Appeals, Molter was a partner at Ice Miller in Indianapolis and prior to that he was an attorney in Washington D.C. at Arnold & Porter LLP. Judge Molter became one of the most distinguished appellate lawyers in Indiana. He has appeared before the Indiana Court of Appeals, the Indiana Supreme Court, and numerous federal trial and appellate courts. He has played a key role in appellate preservation in many trials that reached jury verdicts and appeals.

“While I will miss working each day alongside my extraordinary colleagues on the Court of Appeals, I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve on the Supreme Court and honored to have been considered alongside two of Indiana’s finest public servants, Judge Dana Kenworthy and Justin Forkner,” Judge Derek Molter said.

Molter was born and raised in Newton County. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and a law degree from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law where he earned a place in the Order of the Coif Honor Society and graduated in the top three percent of his class.

Following graduation, Molter served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Theresa L. Springmann, a United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Indiana. He then practiced at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP in Washington D.C.

Molter recently partnered with Appellate Judge Leanna Weissmann and the State Bar to organize a collection effort to provide necessary supplies to Afghan evacuees at Camp Atterbury. Since 2011, he has helped administer a leadership fund that provides scholarships to students at his alma mater, South Newton High School. Molter lives in Indianapolis with his wife Katie, an attorney, and his three children.

A date for Judge Molter’s robing ceremony will be determined by the Indiana Supreme Court. Grant County Superior Court Judge Dana Kenworthy and Justin Forkner, chief administrative officer of the Indiana Supreme Court, were the other two finalists nominated by the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission.