ISBA calls out the Gov

September 21, 2009
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The Indiana State Bar Association wants the governor to know it didn’t appreciate his comments regarding the Court of Appeals’ ruling on our voter ID law, so it issued a statement late Friday afternoon.

It’s short and to the (polite) point: Gov. Daniels and anyone else can disagree about the ruling, but making disparaging comments about individual judges isn’t the way to go.

Here’s a snippet of the release in case you haven’t seen it:

“While the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) recognizes that Gov. Daniels has championed the cause of judicial independence, the State Bar is nevertheless compelled to emphasize that comments such as those attributed to the governor are not helpful in advancing appropriate respect for the courts and the judicial process, and honoring the separation of powers doctrine.”

The governor said after the ruling it was an “act of judicial arrogance” and said he expected the ruling to be overturned because the authoring judge (Judge Patricia Riley) has been reversed before. He also claimed the ruling was transparently partisan.

His reaction to the ruling has been transparently partisan.

The majority of the Court of Appeals judges sitting on the bench right now were appointed by previous Democratic governors; that’s not to say all are Democrats. If someone he appointed made this decision or if it was made by a known-Republican, would Daniels still be crying foul?

For a governor who made me happy with his veto to a bill that would have made Court of Appeals judges run for election, I question how he can stick his nose into this judicial decision with these types of comments. It’s one thing to say you’re disappointed in the ruling and plan to appeal; it’s another to call out the authoring judge and say her decision will be a “footnote to history eventually.” Never mind the fact the decision was unanimous. Gov. Daniels hasn’t called out Judges Paul Mathias or James Kirsch that I’ve read or heard.

The controversy surrounding this ruling could be more fodder for politicians who want to elect appellate judges. It also shows that even with the appointment process (a committee selecting nominees for the governor to choose), politics inevitably will arise.

What’s your take on the ISBA’s statement or the governor’s comments? Should Gov. Daniels have kept his mouth shut or was it a breath of fresh air to hear a politician say exactly what’s on his mind?
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  • When judges get political, they can expect political criticism. Especially, when they legislate. As a forty year member of the Bar and of the ISBA, I resent the implication that
  • I find it interesting that anytime a judge hands down a decision that goes against the beliefs of the Republican party, Republicans quickly cry afoul and accuse the judge of legislating from the bench -- as if it\'s impossible that a judge could decide a case that goes against their beliefs without any political motive. Grow up!

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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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