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AG's office says disputes over legislative rules should not be decided in court

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The Indiana Supreme Court will hear the state's appeal in the lawsuit over collecting fines imposed on absent members of the Legislature. The state's highest court on Friday ruled 4-1 to accept jurisdiction of the interlocutory appeal sought by the Indiana attorney general's office, which represents the state and officials named as defendants in the legislative fines lawsuit, Crawford v. Berry.

In a separate hearing Friday in the same underlying lawsuit, Marion Superior Court Judge David Dreyer heard arguments on the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction but has not ruled yet. The trial court extended a temporary restraining order preventing collection of fines by way of payroll deduction for another 10 days.

The attorney general's office contends that under the separation of powers, a trial court cannot interfere in the business of the Legislature or its internal rules.

"Under our Constitution, disagreements between legislators over legislative rules should be hammered out and decided within the legislative branch, not the judicial branch,” said Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “Because the plaintiffs brought this internal dispute to the trial court, the state now must ask a higher court to send the dispute back to the Legislature where it fundamentally and properly belongs.”

A ruling in the underlying case Crawford v. Berry, originally litigated last year, was being appealed by the state. On Friday, the Supreme Court granted transfer, meaning the interlocutory appeal will be heard there, bypassing the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Zoeller noted that if the Marion Superior Court's eventual ruling on the preliminary injunction motion is appealed by either side, then that appeal also could be heard in the Indiana Supreme Court at its discretion, and the two appeals could be consolidated.


 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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