Sarah Evans Barker was appointed judge of the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, in March 1984 and served as chief judge between 1994 and 2001. Prior to her appointment, Judge Barker was United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. From 1977 to 1981, she was both an associate and partner at the Indianapolis law firm of Bose, McKinney & Evans. She started her Indianapolis legal career as an assistant United States Attorney, after working as a legislative assistant to Senator Charles H. Percy and Congressman Gilbert Gude in Washington, D.C., and special counsel to the Senate Government Operations Subcommittee.
Active throughout her career in judicial and bar-related organizations, Judge Barker served as president of the 900-member Federal Judges Association, 2007-2009, and continues her work on the FJA Board of Directors. She is also currently serving on the federal Judicial Conduct and Disability Committee, having recently been appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts. In 2004, she was appointed by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to serve on the Special Study Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability (the “Breyer Committee”). Judge Barker has served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, its Executive Committee, Long Range Planning Committee, Standing Rules Committee, Budget Committee and the Judicial Branch Committee (ex-officio). She has also served on a variety of 7th Circuit committees and has been a member and officer of several bar associations.
Judge Barker is active in numerous civic, educational, cultural and religious organizations, including the State of Indiana Bicentennial Commission, having been appointed by then-Governor Mitch Daniels, the board of directors of Indiana University Health Partners, Inc. and the board of the Indiana Historical Society.