Talk of reform and recusal

November 5, 2008
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From IL reporter Michael Hoskins:

Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard took some time Wednesday following Election Day to talk with about 60 people about local government reform. He spoke at the North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis about his work last year on the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform, which issued a report calling for sweeping statewide changes in how the system is setup. The chief justice pointed out that our Hoosier state has 2 percent of the nation’s population, but accounts for 8 percent of its governance and that most people don’t know all their local officials. One point he discussed was about public safety, particularly how a mixture of full-time and volunteer fire departments throughout the state duplicate services and aren’t the most efficient or cost-effective option for residents. “This is not a commentary on the people, but on the structure of the system in which they belabor,” he said.

Interestingly, that issue of local government reform that he spoke about is one that is currently before the Indiana Supreme Court, at least in the form of a transfer petition. A Nashville attorney challenging a countywide fire protection district that his clients say was created illegally wants the high court to take the case, and is asking the state’s top jurist to recuse himself from it because of his involvement with local government reform efforts. That case is Ronald Sanders, et al. v. Board of Commissioners of Brown County, et. al, No. 07A01-0803-CV-00104 and follows a September ruling from the Court of Appeals allowing for the district’s creation under the Home Rule Act.

But now, given the chief justice’s advocating for this type of consolidation where necessary, it begs the question of whether the chief justice should recuse himself from this case and any similar ones that could come before the court in the future. While he’s likely able to distinguish between both roles, questions of public perception can sometimes be just as weighty as the administration of justice itself. No decision has been made yet on the transfer request or the recusal question, according to the appellate clerk’s docket.
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  2. As an adoptive parent, I have to say this situation was as shameful as it gets. While the state government opens its wallet to the Simons and their friends, it denied payments to the most vulnerable in our state. Thanks Mitch!

  3. We as lawyers who have given up the range of First amendment freedom that other people possess, so that we can have a license to practice in the courts of the state and make gobs of money, that we agree to combat the hateful and bigoted discrimination enshrined in the law by democratic majorities, that Law Lord Posner has graciously explained for us....... We must now unhesitatingly condemn the sincerely held religious beliefs of religiously observant Catholics, Muslims, Christians, and Jewish persons alike who yet adhere to Scriptural exhortations concerning sodomites and catamites..... No tolerance will be extended to intolerance, and we must hate the haters most zealously! And in our public explanations of this constitutional garbledygook, when doing the balancing act, we must remember that the state always pushes its finger down on the individualism side of the scale at every turn and at every juncture no matter what the cost to society.....to elevate the values of a minority over the values of the majority is now the defining feature of American "Democracy..." we must remember our role in tricking Americans to think that this is desirable in spite of their own democratically expressed values being trashed. As a secular republic the United States might as well be officially atheist, religious people are now all bigots and will soon be treated with the same contempt that kluckers were in recent times..... The most important thing is that any source of moral authority besides the state be absolutely crushed.

  4. In my recent article in Indiana Lawyer, I noted that grass roots marketing -- reaching out and touching people -- is still one of the best forms of advertising today. It's often forgotten in the midst of all of today's "newer wave" marketing techniques. Shaking hands and kissing babies is what politicians have done for year and it still works. These are perfect examples of building goodwill. Kudos to these firms. Make "grass roots" an essential part of your marketing plan. Jon Quick QPRmarketing.com

  5. Hi, Who can I speak to regarding advertising today? Thanks, Gary

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