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Lawmakers discuss same-sex marriage and criminal code revisions at IU McKinney Law School

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Two Republican lawmakers are backing off support for holding a second vote on the same-sex marriage amendment, advocating the Legislature take a wait-and-see approach.  

Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville, and Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, both advised the Legislature wait to act until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the two same-sex marriage cases currently pending this term. A resolution calling for a constitutional amendment passed the Indiana General Assembly during the 2011 session and is eligible for a second vote this session. If approved by lawmakers, the measure would be on the 2014 ballot.

However, the legislators pointed out the General Assembly can also vote on the amendment during the 2014 session, and they advocated delaying the process until the Supreme Court takes action.

“With the Supreme Court case pending there’s really no reason to hear that bill or deal with that issue in this session until you have clarification,” Kenley said. “Because if we were to hear it this year and pass it this year, it would have to go on the ballot even if the Supreme Court had already declared it unconstitutional. And I don’t think that would make the Indiana Legislature look very wise.”

McMillin and Kenley were two Indiana lawmakers who spoke at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Tuesday evening. They were joined by Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz for the legislative panel discussion.

The discussion and reception was sponsored by Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and the Black Law Students Association. Indianapolis radio host Amos Brown served as the moderator.

In addition to the same-sex marriage amendment, the legislators also talked about the sweeping revisions proposed for the state’s criminal code. McMillin, a member of the Courts and Criminal Code Committee, framed the issue as a fiscal one.

“I understand the argument when people do a crime, they need to pay for those crimes,” he said. “But those who just want to continually harp on the fact we need to put people away need to understand being tough on crime is also being tough on taxpayers.”

Brown questioned whether lawmakers were fearful of voting for any revision that could open them to the charge of being soft on crime.

Taylor dismissed that assumption. “I think the electorate has become more educated on this issue,” he said. “The electorate understands that if we talk about being smarter on crime, instead of harder on crime, that people understand what we mean by that.”

McKinney Law School Dean Gary Roberts asked the panel about Senate Bill 88 which would require the loser in civil litigation to pay all attorney fees. The dean called the proposal a “radical departure from the American tradition” and said it would change the dynamics of litigation.

Kenley agreed. He said the impact on the civil legal system would be huge with the parties having to decide if they are willing to take a chance and file a case.

“I don’t know whether this has any chance of passing or not, but it would be an enormous change as you pointed out,” he said.


 

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  • Suits & Atty Fees
    Loser pays attorney fees is a good idea, so long as it's not an all or nothing thing. I would favor a graduated scale (think income tax rates) for fees. Perhaps cap it out at 30-40%. Think of someone suing a big retailer, and then getting a $50,000 bill for attorney fees when they lose.

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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