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.



  • 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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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues