Lake Superior Judge Tavitas named to COA, succeeding Barnes

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The Indiana Lawyer on 07/25/2018 by Olivia Covington

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Lake Superior Judge Elizabeth Tavitas was on the bench on July 18 when her phone rang with a message that would change her career. It was a call from Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, informing her that she had been selected as Indiana’s next Court of Appeals judge.

“I saw his (Holcomb’s) name light up on my cellphone, and I had to recess,” she said.

Though her waiting litigants kept Tavitas from celebrating immediately when she got the life-changing call from Holcomb last week, the judge was all smiles the next day when the governor publicly announced her as his pick to succeed now-Senior Judge Michael Barnes, who retired last month. The governor’s selection of Tavitas as the next COA judge marked the second time he has named an appellate judge – the first being Justice Christopher Goff’s appointment to the Indiana Supreme Court – and he said selecting the state’s highest jurists is a task he does not take lightly.

“Selections … to the top two highest courts – there’s no more important decision,” he said.

With the governor’s confidence placed in her, Tavitas pledged to be faithful to the rule of law once she ascends to the appellate court bench. And though she said she can never truly replace her predecessor, Tavitas also said she hopes to continue his legacy of humility and public service.

“I stand here as a public servant ready to serve this great state of Indiana at the next level,” Tavitas said.