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Local law professionals seeking state supreme court seat

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

Could Northern Indiana have a seat at the bench?

An opening in the Hoosier state’s highest court is drawing interest from all over.

21 contenders are vying for retiring Supreme Court Justice Robert Rucker’s seat and three are from Michiana.

“I’d like to share the views that I have, and the experiences that I’ve had both in Northwest Indiana and North central Indiana and make my contribution down state,” said Lyle Hardman, a candidate from South Bend.

The vacancy downstate could make room for upstate voices.

Hardman, an attorney from St. Joseph County with over two decades of experience is hoping it could be his.

“To me I see being on the Indiana Supreme Court as the highest calling for an attorney or judge in the state of Indiana,” said Hardman.

He’s one of two candidates representing South Bend.

His competition is Steven Hostetler, a judge in the St. Joseph County superior court.

Their fellow candidate from Northern Indiana is an insurance defense attorney from LaPorte, Jamie Oss.

“The supreme court offers the opportunity to use the skills that I have kind of honed as being the managing partner of the firm,” said Oss. “I also bring the small firm perspective; I work in a small firm.”

Every current sitting justice has perspectives from either Central or Southern Indiana.

So the northern contenders hope this opening creates an opportunity for geographical diversity on the bench.

“Certainly we can contribute to the state; it’s not all Central Indiana,” said Hardman.

The first round of interviews will take place on March 21st.

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