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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. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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