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Editorial: More of the same?

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Indiana Lawyer Editorial

They’re back, and like most citizens who watch with interest the goings on in the Indiana General Assembly, we’re not sure it’s altogether a good thing.

House Democrats ended their five-week walkout, and now we seem ready to get on with the business at hand: continuing the process by which Indiana can enshrine in its Constitution the discriminatory legislation some lawmakers are convinced without which heterosexual marriage will become endangered; and continuing the work toward passing an Arizona-style immigration law, without which some are certain our economy will collapse under the weight of all the welfare we apparently provide to people not in the country legally.

For a party that seems both at the state and national level to pride itself on a platform of small government and getting government out of everyone’s lives, Republicans certainly have a peculiar means of demonstrating these values.

Few things are more conservative than big business, and that some of Indiana’s largest employers have testified that our proposed same-sex marriage prohibition amendment and our determination to become the next Arizona regarding immigration will actually harm our business interests seems no deterrent to legislators who would advocate for such discriminatory practices.

Given that this is the kind of behavior we’ve become accustomed to expect from our legislators, no matter the political stripe, we must say that the bar is set remarkably low regarding what we expect from the last weeks of the legislative session.

We could be moving closer to completing the work of the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee with the case management system that has been implemented in 81 courts of 26 counties statewide. JTAC advocated for legislation that would have tacked on a modest fee increase to certain court filings to fund the project through its completion; the fee would have decreased upon the project’s completion. Instead, legislators delivered a funding cut.

We understand the argument that some have against our courts being in this business and that some would rather have seen private enterprise deliver this service. Restricting funding for a project that is about a third of the way completed seems like a tremendous waste of public funding.

Judicial raises are under threat again, after years of being non-existent. A law was passed in 2005 that tied judges’ pay raises to that of other state workers. But language is now on the table that would circumvent the change.

That such a move could undo all of the effort that went into finally securing a means for these judicial officers to be treated the same way all other public employees are treated is despicable and shows a contempt for our legal system. Either the state can afford to give all public employees a pay raise in the next budget or it cannot; all should be treated the same way.

Most bar association leaders who watch the Legislature say they expect no mischief in the waning days of the session.

We’d like to be able to express that sort of optimism.•

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  1. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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