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Appeals court upholds Indianapolis smoking ban

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday upheld the citywide smoking ban in most Indianapolis bars, denying the injunction request brought by several bar owners who claimed the 2012 ordinance would have a negative impact on their businesses.

The appellate judges noted the bar owners clearly established a negative economic impact as a result of the smoking ban, but a mere loss of future profits is not enough to base a takings claim.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard signed the ordinance in April 2012 that expanded citywide restrictions against indoor public smoking to include most bars. The ordinance exempts tobacco specialty bars like cigar and hookah bars, retail tobacco stores and private clubs that voted to permit smoking. The group of Indianapolis bar owners sought declaratory and injunctive relief from the ordinance, asserting due process, equal protection, takings and freedom of association claims under the federal and Indiana constitutions.

Chief Judge Richard Young in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana denied the owners’ request for relief.

Smoking is not a fundamental right, the 7th Circuit pointed out, so the ordinance will stand if it passes rational basis scrutiny.

“There are numerous reasons the City may have chosen to limit smoking in enclosed public spaces, and the bar owners have failed to disprove all of them. … [T]he City could have determined that they wanted to limit smoking in public places because it is annoying to nonsmokers, who are not used to inhaling smoke. It could also have reasoned that by banning smoking in public places, it would encourage more smokers to quit, improving health outcomes for more than just those exposed to secondhand smoke. Whatever the City’s reasoning, the bar owners have failed to demonstrate that there is no rational basis on which a law restricting smoking in public places could be based,” Judge Michael Kanne wrote.

The appeals court also rejected the bar owners’ claim that the ordinance denies them equal protection of laws because smoking remains legal in tobacco specialty bars.

“The City thus drew a line between traditional bars, for whom tobacco sales and usage are incidental to their primary business of alcohol and food sales, and tobacco specialty bars, whose business models depend on tobacco sales. The bar owners essentially argue that this line was drawn incorrectly because it does not include their businesses, which also depend significantly upon on-site tobacco usage. But legislation ‘does not violate the Equal Protection Clause merely because the classifications [it makes] are imperfect,’” Kanne wrote, citing Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471, 485 (1970).

The bar owners’ claims under the Indiana Constitution also failed.

The case is Wanda Goodpaster, et al v. City of Indianapolis, et al., 13-1629.

 
 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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