Indy mayor wins redistricting battle

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard Wednesday in a dispute between the mayor and Democratic members of the city-county council who challenged a redistricting plan passed in late 2011.

In the fall of 2011, the Marion County City-County Council, which had a Republican majority, voted to approve a proposal creating Ordinance 61. That ordinance redrew the 25 districts for elections to the council beginning in 2015. Ballard signed the ordinance Jan. 1, 2012.

The ordinance was approved before a Democratic majority would take hold in the City-County Council beginning Jan. 1, 2012. Democratic Councilor Maggie Lewis filed a lawsuit against the Marion County Election Board, arguing that the ordinance failed to comply with I.C. 36-3-4-3, the county’s Redistricting Statute.

The dispute went before a divided panel of trial court judges, who held that the ordinance was passed too early to satisfy the Redistricting Statue. The judges drew new legislative districts and ordered Lewis and Ballard to equally split the cost of the master who was brought in to issue the final judgment.

The justices, in the per curiam decision, noted that both sides presented reasonable arguments about how the Redistricting Statute should be construed, and in particular, whether Ordinance 61 constitutes mandatory redistricting in 2012. The justices determined that it would be proper, as a matter of judicial restraint, to adopt the interpretation that avoids judicial line-drawing in what “is presumptively a matter for the legislative and executive branches of local government to address.”

“While recognizing Ordinance 61 as mandatory redistricting is just one reasonable construction of the Redistricting Statute, we adopt it because it allows legislatively adopted districts to remain in place and avoids the need for districts drawn by a court,” the opinion states.

The justices also noted that the disputed legal issue in this case is whether the City-County Council acted too early, but there is no allegation that the ordinance was substantively defective.

In addition to ordering summary judgment be entered in favor of Ballard, the justices reversed any order requiring him to pay part of the cost of the master.

The case is Mayor Gregory Ballard v. Maggie Lewis, John Barth, and Vernon Brown, 49S00-1311-PL-716.



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?