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IL Editorial: The cynic asks: yVote! or why vote?

Editorial Indiana Lawyer
August 31, 2011
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Indiana Lawyer Editorial

Marion County Clerk Beth White has started her yVote! program, which we believe to be a wonderful undertaking. She travels to any Marion County high school that will have her in to teach civics. She talks to students about where they vote depending on where they live, the different ways to vote, and who is on the ballot. Students also get a chance to try out casting a ballot on the county’s voting equipment. During one particular session, White asked students to choose among the following mock candidates for president: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. White also registers to vote any interested students who will be age 18 on or before the general election, which this year is Nov. 8.

She’s taken her traveling civics class to 22 public, private, and charter high schools, and registered more than 1,650 students to vote since she started the program in 2008.

Some of us on the newspaper staff who live in Marion County have had students who have gotten to participate in White’s yVote! program. One student thought it was “kinda cool” to register to vote during a program at school and “got a kick out of it” when White asked students to vote for their favorite political family, choosing among the Kennedys, Clintons, and the Bushes.EditorialFactbox.gif

This particular student didn’t recall White describing the process by which judges are chosen in Marion County. This student listened to the short version of the process: the fundraising for the slating fee, the two major political parties placing the candidates on the ballot, and the fact that unless a rogue candidate decides to run against the slate there will be, for example, eight judicial openings and eight judicial candidates on the ballot. The student’s response to this? “That’s kinda messed up.”

We had the same reaction to a fundraising flyer that circulated toward the middle of this month for Marion Superior Judge Becky Pierson-Treacy. After severe criticism of the wording along side the suggested donations for her honor’s slating fee, the event was canceled. The wording in question?

$150 “Sustained”

$250 “Affirmed”

$500 “So Ordered”

$1,000 “Favorable Ruling”

The judge has declared that the word choice in no way indicates that her rulings can be purchased, which we believe to be true. But it still points out the terrible idea it is to have people who are charged with deciding the fate of those who appear before them to be out raising money to remain in office.

In short, the most adept fundraiser may not always be the most adept judge, and to be quite frank, we’d prefer the most adept judge if it’s all the same to the two major political parties. But alas, the parties seem to be mostly concerned with keeping the most adept fundraisers in office.•
 

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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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