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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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