Judge rejects interlocutory appeal in Marion Superior judiciary challenge

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A federal judge has denied the state of Indiana’s motion for an interlocutory appeal, signaling that a trial probably won’t be needed in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of how Marion Superior judges are elected.

Chief Judge Richard Young of the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on Thursday denied the state’s motion for interlocutory appeal of the court’s September denial of a motion to dismiss.

Young’s September order allowed a lawsuit filed last year  by Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana to go forward. The suit seeks an injunction against enforcement of Indiana Code 33-33-49-13, the process for electing judges in the Marion Superior Courts. The suit claims the system is “unique in Indiana, and perhaps in the nation,” assuring Democrats and Republicans an equal share of judgeships.

The process allows the parties to “slate” candidates during the primary election with candidates who’ve provided donations to the parties. The suit claims the slating process deprives voters an opportunity to cast meaningful ballots during general elections.

Young on Thursday rejected state objections to his order denying a motion to dismiss the case. In refusing to certify the interlocutory appeal, he said the state’s concerns about lengthy discovery and costly pre-trial preparation were unpersuasive.

“This case involves a constitutional challenge to a state statute which governs the manner in which judges are elected to the Marion Superior Court. As such, any discovery that will be required will be limited and easily completed. And, once discovery is completed, this case will most likely be decided on summary judgment,” Young wrote.




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