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Editorial: Lake Co. merit selection is back on the table

Editorial Indiana Lawyer
April 27, 2011
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Indiana Lawyer Editorial

It’s at the end of House Bill 1266, and we have no idea whether the legislation has a chance at passage by the April 29 session deadline, but we had to go back and read it twice before we believed what we were seeing:

“Provides for the four judges of the Lake superior court county division to be: (1) nominated by the Lake County superior court judicial nominating commission and appointed by the governor; and (2) subject to the question of retention or rejection by the Lake County electorate every six years. (Current law provides that the judges of the Lake superior court county division are elected by the electorate of Lake County every six years.) Repeals provisions concerning elected judges of the county division. Makes conforming amendments.”

To be sure, HB 1266 contains provisions of great importance to specific courts throughout the state, and it calls for the repeal of a mandatory retirement age for Superior Court judges.

But it’s there in black and white: an extension of merit selection in a county that already utilizes that method for some of its trial court judges. We had to go find our judicial merit-selection soap box and dust it off. We hadn’t thought we’d need it this session with all of the drama surrounding the walkouts, handwringing about social issues legislation, and the politicking going on at the Statehouse. We’re just like most of the citizens of the state hoping our elected officials pass a budget by the deadline so we don’t have to pay for a special session.

But count us among those who would love to see this little provision pass. You can read about the legislation in a story on page 3 of this issue of the newspaper.

We had to agree with Indiana State Bar Association President Jeff Lind when he said that he believes opposition to merit selection in some communities exists because in Indiana “Nobody likes to be told what to do.”

But expanding merit selection in this county that already has it for some judicial officers is a great place to start toward expanding it elsewhere.•

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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