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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. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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