IN Brief

St. Joseph and Elkhart County judges nominated to federal bench

By: - November 15, 2023 10:17 am

St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Cristal Brisco, left, and Elkhart Superior Court Judge Gretchen Lund, right. (Photos from LinkedIn and Indiana Supreme Court).

President Joe Biden announced five nominees to life-tenured federal judgeships Wednesday morning, including two Hoosiers.

One would be the first Black woman to serve on a U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Indiana, if confirmed. St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Cristal Brisco was appointed to the bench by Gov. Eric Holcomb in June 2021.

The other, Judge Gretchen Lund, has served on the Elkhart County Superior Court in Goshen since 2015.

“Today’s announcement of five highly qualified Article III nominees — four women, two nominees from a state represented by Senate Republicans, and three historic first nominees — continues the President’s drive to bring professional and demographic diversity to the federal judiciary and his commitment to working with Senators on both sides of the aisle,” said White House Counsel Ed Siskel.

U.S. Sen. Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, called both judges “experienced, qualified jurists” in a statement Wednesday.

Both, he said, “have served honorably in state superior courts. I fully expect them to excel on the federal bench, and I anticipate supporting both of them as they enter the confirmation process.”

Judge Brisco

Brisco served as a magistrate judge in St. Joseph County since 2018. Prior to her appointment as a judge, she practiced law as an attorney at Barnes & Thornburg LLP, and served as the corporation counsel for the City of South Bend under then-Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

He called her a “superb attorney, an insightful strategist, and a trusted advisor” at the time of her city departure.

Brisco received her law degree from the University of Notre Dame in 2006 and her bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University in 2002.

She spoke about her upbringing and career in depth when she was featured in a Q&A in Indiana Court Times in 2020.

Judge Lund

Prior to Lund’s current judgeship with the Elkhart County Superior Court, she served as a judge on the Goshen City Court: 2008-2014. Before that, she was a deputy prosecutor in the Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office from 2006 to 2007.

She helped open a specialized drug court in her community, reports the South Bend Tribune, and previously applied to be an Indiana Supreme Court Justice, according to the Indiana Lawyer.

Lund received her law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in 2001 and her bachelor’s degree from Butler University in 1998.


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Leslie Bonilla Muñiz
Leslie Bonilla Muñiz

Leslie joins the Indiana Capital Chronicle after covering city government and urban affairs for the Indianapolis Business Journal for more than a year. She graduated from Northwestern University in March 2021, and has reported for the Chicago Tribune, Voice of America and student publications in Evanston, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and Doha, Qatar.