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Judge upholds Delaware County smoking ban

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Delaware Circuit Judge Marianne Vorhees refused to strike down an ordinance passed this summer by the county commissioners that enhanced the county’s smoking ban by prohibiting smoking in bars and private clubs. In her ruling Wednesday, she said those who are unhappy with the ordinance should use the political process to try to change it.

The Delaware County Licensed Beverage Assoc., along with four American Legion posts and Low Bob’s Tobacco, filed a lawsuit against the Delaware County Board of Commissioners and the county health board claiming the enhanced ordinance is unconstitutional under the state and federal constitutions.

The plaintiffs took issue with the evidence relied upon by the county commissioners to pass the ordinance. Vorhees found that the commissioners had reliable scientific evidence on which to base their conclusion that secondhand smoke causes disease in nonsmokers and that the public interest would be served by eliminating secondhand smoke in public places.

The judge noted in her order that the Delaware County Health Department provided evidence showing no bar/restaurant had gone out of business since the ordinance’s effective date, and that in fact, 21 new restaurants had opened in the county since the ordinance went into effect, with eight of those serving alcohol.

Vorhees saw the issue as ultimately a political one. She wrote if people aren’t satisfied with the decisions made by the county commissioners, they can use the political process to change or repeal the ordinance. She then pointed out she wasn’t advocating that voters remove any of the commissioners because they passed the ordinance.

“This Court will decline to find the ordinance at issue unconstitutional … But the Court hopes Plaintiffs will seek review by a higher court. The appellate courts in Indiana have not addressed this issue. These courts may see the issue in a different light from the trial court,” she wrote.

 

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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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