AG saves taxpayer money

July 25, 2008
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For the second time in a month, the Indiana Attorney General’s office has decided not to appeal court decisions that didn’t come out in its favor regarding new laws.

Earlier this month, the office announced it wouldn’t appeal U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s July 1 ruling that a law requiring bookstores, retailers, and others to register with the state and pay a fee to sell any sexually explicit material was in violation of the First Amendment. Yesterday, nearly a month after another law was struck down in its entirety for being unconstitutionally vague, the AG’s office said it wouldn’t appeal.

On June 24, U.S. District Chief Judge David Hamilton of the Southern District of Indiana struck down portions of a new law requiring all sex offenders – even those who had served their sentence – to be subject to blanket searches of their homes and computers by authorities. The judge ruled that portion of the law was unconstitutional.

Instead of appealing, the attorney general’s office said it will work with legislators this fall to ensure new laws that are passed regarding these issues are effective and constitutional.

The office also noted that part of its latest decision not to appeal was because it would be costly to taxpayers, throwing out a figure of $100,000. It would be especially costly if the state didn’t win its appeal. It’s good to see the attorney general’s office is thinking of the taxpayers and not spending unnecessary money on an appeal they probably wouldn’t win.

Money must be no object when it comes to the legislative prayer suit brought by four taxpayers against Brian Bosma, then-speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, for allowing prayers that were overtly Christian in content.

After two years of litigation – which the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied hearing en banc after dismissing the suit – at least $350,000 has been spent defending the representatives’ right to praise a higher religious power at the start of each House session.

What made the legislative prayer suit worth spending money on as opposed to suits challenging laws that relate to the sex-offender registry or sexually explicit materials? When does the state draw the line and decide it has spent too much pursuing or defending a lawsuit?
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