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Judge sets January hearing in Marion County judicial slating suit

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A federal judge has summoned attorneys for Gov. Mike Pence, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and members of the Indiana Election Commission to a pretrial conference in a lawsuit challenging the way Marion Superior judges are elected.

Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch issued an order last week calling together parties next month for an initial pretrial conference. The suit, brought by Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, seeks to declare unconstitutional the slating system used to elect Indianapolis judges.

In setting the conference, Lynch said counsel for named parties are expected to appear in person and “must have thorough knowledge of the case.” The judge indicated that their clients could attend, but were not required to do so.

Common Cause and the ACLU are challenging the “slating” system in Marion County. Under the slating system, the Democrat and Republican parties each nominate or slate judges to fill a fixed and equal number of judgeships that the law assures each party of filling. The complaint seeks to block future enforcement of I.C. 33-33-49-13.

“The failure of Indiana law to permit registered voters in Marion County to cast a meaningful vote for all seats on the Marion Superior Court violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” the complaint says.

The system has been derided by many as corrupt. Those who earned their party’s blessing and were slated in 2012 also each gave generously to their respective parties, an Indiana Lawyer review of campaign finance records found. For Democrats, the contribution was $13,100; for Republicans, $12,000.

The conference is set for 10 a.m. Jan. 17 in room 227 of the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Indianapolis.

The case before Chief Judge Richard Young in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana is Common Cause Indiana v. Indiana Secretary of State in her official capacity, Individual Members of the Indiana Election Commission, in their official capacities, Governor of the State of Indiana, in his official capacity, 1:12-cv-1603-RLY-DML. Young in September dismissed the state’s motion to dismiss the suit.

“Although Indiana’s ballot access statute … has been found constitutionally adequate … the court is not convinced that the statute’s constitutionality with respect to a candidate’s access to the ballot applies here with equal force, where the claim is not ballot access, but whether a citizen’s vote in the general election matters,” Young wrote.








 
 

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  • Not Slating
    Unfortunately the lawsuit is not about "slating." It's about the law that says that everyone who wins the primary wins the general election. Slating is pre-primary. There is a lot of problems with it but it's not an issue in the lawsuit.
  • Not Slating
    Unfortunately the lawsuit is not about "slating." It's about the law that says that everyone who wins the primary wins the general election. Slating is pre-primary. There is a lot of problems with it but it's not an issue in the lawsuit.

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

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  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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