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Black lawmakers oppose Marion County judge selection bill

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A proposal to create a 14-member merit-selection commission to nominate Marion Superior judges would harm minority representation on the bench of the state’s largest county, members of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus said in a statement Monday as the bill awaited second reading on the House floor.

Senate Bill 352 is the General Assembly’s response to federal court rulings that struck down as unconstitutional the former slating system by which Democratic and Republican parties filled judicial vacancies.

Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, was an original sponsor of the bill but joined in opposition to the composition of the commission that would be created. “It seems to us that this legislation flies in the face of the concerns expressed by the federal court system, which ruled that the way Marion County had been electing judges was unconstitutional because it did not provide residents with a ‘meaningful vote.‘ Instead of giving residents the same right to vote as is provided in 88 other counties in Indiana, SB 352 takes away direct election of judges completely.”

The original bill provided for a 16-member commission, half of whom would be lawmakers. Amendments passed since call for a 14-member panel consisting of:

• Four lawyers appointed by the Democratic and Republican leaders of both houses of the General Assembly;
• Four lawyers appointed by the Indianapolis Bar Association, Marion County Bar Association, Indiana Trial Lawyers Association and Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana;
• Four members, two each appointed by the chairs of the Marion County Democratic and Republican parties;
• The chief judge of the Indiana Court of Appeals or her designee; and
• The chief justice of Indiana or her designee.

“We believe that judges should be elected from the start, and their party affiliation should be identified on the ballot,” said Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis. “Allowing judges to be elected and identified by party would ensure that minorities would have the opportunity to become judges. The bill does not have any requirement for diversity, which means the selection committee and the court system would not reflect the makeup of Marion County.”

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  1. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  2. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

  3. I agree. My husband has almost the exact same situation. Age states and all.

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  5. Andrew, if what you report is true, then it certainly is newsworthy. If what you report is false, then it certainly is newsworthy. Any journalists reading along??? And that same Coordinator blew me up real good as well, even destroying evidence to get the ordered wetwork done. There is a story here, if any have the moxie to go for it. Search ADA here for just some of my experiences with the court's junk yard dog. https://www.scribd.com/document/299040062/Brown-ind-Bar-memo-Pet-cert Yep, drive by shootings. The lawyers of the Old Dominion got that right. Career executions lacking any real semblance of due process. It is the ISC way ... under the bad shepard's leadership ... and a compliant, silent, boot-licking fifth estate.

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