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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.