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Lake County judge: RTW suit may proceed

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A challenge to Indiana’s right-to-work law will proceed after a Lake County judge this week rejected the state’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by United Steelworkers.

Lake Circuit Judge George Paras wrote Tuesday, “it cannot categorically be said at this time” that the measure signed into law in February doesn’t violate the Indiana Constitution.

The Steelworkers’ suit says the law’s requirement that unions provide services to workers they represent even if workers don't pay union dues conflicts with Article 1, Section 21: “No person’s particular services shall be demanded, without just compensation.”

In a statement, USW District 7 director Jim Robinson hailed the ruling in United Steelworkers, et al. v. Mitch Daniels, et al., 45D01-1203-PL-19. “We are pleased by this decision and look forward to seeing this unjust law, which is bad for Hoosier workers and does not represent our Midwestern value of accepting personal responsibility, be struck down by the courts.”

Another suit in northwestern Indiana challenges right-to-work is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, and the state’s motion to dismiss remains before Chief Judge Phillip Simon in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in Hammond. That case is Sweeney, et al. v. Daniels, et al., 2:12-cv-00081.

In Paras’ decision, he dismissed Gov. Mitch Daniels as a defendant. “The state contended the Governor is entitled to absolute legislative immunity regarding enactment of the legislation, so we are pleased that the Court has agreed,” said Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “The State’s position continues to be that the statute is constitutional, and now we can pursue additional avenues for upholding the law’s constitutionality.

“The next immediate step will be to prepare and file an answer as to remaining claims. We assume the court will set a scheduling conference in the future,” Corbin said.

 

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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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