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Bill enabling legislators to fight for immigration law in court gets hearing

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State senators who are fighting to go to court to defend parts of Indiana’s immigration law – a law that Attorney General Greg Zoeller concluded could not withstand constitutional scrutiny – will hear a bill Wednesday that would give them the power to defend their measures in such cases.

Senate Bill 280 would allow a bill’s author to intervene in a court case in which the constitutionality or enforcement of legislation is challenged. The bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, will be heard at 9 a.m. Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, in Room 130 of the Statehouse.

Delph and Steele, along with Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, last year filed a motion to intervene in Buquer et al. v. City of Indianapolis et al, 1:11-cv-00708, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, after Zoeller said he could no longer defend portions of the law.

Delph sponsored Indiana’s immigration bill, SB 590, which was enacted in 2011. Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona v. U.S. struck down much of Arizona’s immigration law, which was the model for Indiana’s legislation. As a result, Zoeller said he no longer would defend warrantless arrest provisions in Indiana’s law challenged in Buquer.

The senators argued in court briefs in Buquer that after Zoeller declined to defend the law, Delph, Steele and Boots “remain the only interested parties who are ready and willing to defend their core legislative interests in the full implementation of the duly enacted law.”

The AG’s office says in court motions that state law is clear: The office represents the interests of state government.

“These three individual senators seek to inject themselves into this litigation in their official capacities, in order to espouse their legal views on the issues at hand. The senators have hired private counsel to represent these views to the Court. This is not permitted by Indiana law,” the AG’s office argued in a filing in October.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker has set no further hearing dates in the Buquer case.

“We are supportive of current law that allows the attorney general to determine the legal position the state takes to court and, under certain circumstances, allows for legislative leadership representing the Legislature as a whole to hire outside counsel, but not individual members,” said Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office. “We believe this system has served the state well.”

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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