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. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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