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Editorial: State should avoid selection slugfests

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Indiana Lawyer Editorial

Indiana's lawmakers plan to look at judicial retention during this summer's study session. The Commission on Courts will study the current system and how voters get information about the judges who face such a vote. Three of our five justices are on the November ballot, as is our tax court judge, and one of our Court of Appeals judges. 
  
We'd like to see the average voter know more about our appellate courts. We know the high court is working to make information about the judges who are up for retention easily available to the average voter on the state's Web site, www.in.gov, and we applaud that effort. Once that's completed, we'd encourage our readers to let their hometown newspapers know about it to help spread the word. 
  
All our judges facing retention ought to be returned to the bench. We have a good thing going here in Indiana, and we're not the only ones who think so. We wrote in a recent post to our blog, First Impressions, about a conversation one of IL's reporters had not too long ago with Chief Justice Margaret Marshall of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. She told us she keeps in touch with our Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and often looks to Indiana for guidance and insight on various issues. It's something we've heard other jurists say when they talk about the civility displayed by our bench and bar. 
  
The retention issue for Indiana's appellate judges was fixed 40 years ago and does not need to be broken. In fact, we'd like to see a version of the state model replicated in trial courts. We've said it before, but it bears repeating; we're going to lose a great deal of judicial talent come the next election cycle because judges didn't play politics well enough or got outspent by an opponent. 
 
We hope the Commission on Courts will listen to the words of our chief justice and not let Indiana go the way of the "multi-million dollar special interest slugfests that are a common feature in our neighboring states and elsewhere in the country." It's no way to choose a judge.• 

Opinions: Readers may offer opinions concerning Indiana Lawyer stories and other legal issues. Readers may respond immediately by viewing the "submissions" section on our Web site, www.theindianalawyer.com.  We reserve the right to edit letters for space requirements and to reproduce letters on Indiana Lawyer's Web site and on online databases. We do not publish anonymous letters. Direct letters to editor Rebecca Collier at rcollier@IBJ.com or 41 E. Washington St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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