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US Supreme Court declines to take Indiana Planned Parenthood cases

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The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday denied certiorari to two cases stemming from an Indiana law disqualifying a health care provider in participating in a government program because it provides abortion care.

The U.S. justices considered Planned Parenthood of Indiana v. Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, 12-1159; and Secretary of the Ind. FSSA v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana, 12-1039, at its conference Thursday.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in the Southern District of Indiana granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of I.C. 5-22-17-5.5(b) that bars providing state or federal funds to “any entity that performs abortions or maintains a facility where abortions are performed.” Planned Parenthood and other plaintiffs sued after the defunding law was enacted in 2011. The law prohibits abortion providers from receiving any state-administered funds, even if the money is earmarked for other services.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the injunction in October 2012.

In the case brought by Planned Parenthood, the plaintiffs wanted the Supreme Court to determine whether the law imposes an unconstitutional condition in violation of the 14th Amendment. In the suit brought by FSSA, the agency challenged the decision that Medicaid grants individual rights enforceable under U.S.C. Section 1983. The 7th Circuit ruled that the defunding law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services, thus violating its patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice.

Proceedings had been stayed in the case brought by Planned Parenthood in federal court until a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are happy that the Supreme Court’s action lets stand the appeals court ruling that the state does not have plenary authority to exclude a class of providers for any reason. Federal law protects the right of Medicaid patients to choose a health care provider free of interference from the state,” ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Jane Henegar said in a statement. The ACLU represented the plaintiffs in the case.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller also issued a statement on the Supreme Court decision.

"My office always contended this is ultimately a dispute between the state and federal government, not between a private medical provider and the state. We defended the legal authority of the people's elected representatives in the Indiana Legislature to make a public policy decision to ensure that tax dollars not indirectly subsidize abortion services by funding the payroll and overhead expenses of abortion providers who also offer Medicaid-covered services. We respect the federal courts' rulings in this matter and will confer with our state agency clients regarding any remaining legal avenues, including the separate administrative appeal of the state's Medicaid plan,” Zoeller said.

The justices also denied certiorari to a petition brought by Michael Dean Overstreet. Overstreet was sentenced to death in 2000 for the abduction, rape and murder of Franklin College student Kelly Eckart in 1997. His convictions and sentence have been affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court, as well as a petition for post-conviction relief.

Overstreet appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the District Court’s decision to deny his petition for writ of habeas corpus regarding his sentence.
 

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  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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