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IBA creates PAC option for judicial campaign donors

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After a landmark ruling from the nation’s highest court, the Indianapolis Bar Association has adopted an alternative to direct judicial campaign contributions for those interested in donating to candidates vying for the Marion County bench.

The IBA’s governing board unanimously approved a plan last week that gives attorneys an alternative method of supporting judicial campaigns while eliminating direct contact with any individual candidate they might one day appear before. The bar association formed a task force earlier this year to examine how it might address this topic following the Supreme Court of the United States ruling last summer in Caperton v. AT Massey Coal Co., Inc., 129 S. Ct. 2252, where the court examined how judges should recuse themselves when faced with litigants who’d donated to their judicial campaigns.

IBA members formed a Caperton Task Force to study this issue, and last week presented a plan to the board of governors for consideration. The plan calls for the creation of a political action committee named Attorneys for an Impartial Bench (AIB), and would be made up of donations from the county’s practicing bar that want to contribute to Marion Circuit and Superior candidates.

Since the county operates on a slating system for the primary and those individuals’ names are then placed on the November ballot, the AIB money would be distributed equally among all on the ballot following the primary and at least 30 days before the general election. The contributions aren’t earmarked for any specific candidates or any political affiliations, and “minimal” administrative costs would be taken out of the pooled contributions before the donation occurs.

“We believe this is an appropriate response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recognition of problems associated with campaign contributions to the judiciary,” said IBA president and task force member Christine Hickey, an attorney at Rubin & Levin. “We are attempting to fulfill the Bar’s responsibility to advance the fair and impartial administration of justice. The ongoing mission of the organized bar is to instill public trust and confidence in the judicial system.”

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Anthony Metz, who chaired the task force, said the three goals of the effort are to prevent the appearance that justice is for sale, to promote public confidence in the profession, and to provide attorney members with a choice for judicial campaign contributions.
 

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  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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