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Will SCOTUS weigh in on canons?

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The Supreme Court of the United States could soon decide if it will take on cases that question Indiana’s judicial canons and whether those types of rules infringe on the free speech rights of seated jurists or those vying for the bench.

On Jan. 14, the Indiana attorney general’s office filed a brief with the high court in Torrey Bauer, David Certo, and Indiana Right to Life v. Randall T. Shepard, et al., No. 09-2963, urging the justices not to hear the case. That request came about four months after Terre Haute attorney James Bopp asked the court to grant certiorari in a case that centers on judicial candidates’ concerns about how state canons restrict their answering of survey questions.

U.S. Judge Theresa Springmann dismissed the case and upheld the canons, and the 7th Circuit last summer ruled that the state judicial canons aren’t unconstitutionally restrictive of free speech and should stand.

A three-judge appellate panel relied on a related ruling from June in The Hon. John Siefert v. James C. Alexander, et al., No. 09-1713, in upholding the Indiana canons, and the full Circuit declined to revisit that ruling despite some disagreement among the judges. Bopp appealed to the SCOTUS in September and the state waived its right to respond, but the high court in November asked the state AG to respond to the certiorari petition.

The AG’s brief argues that Bopp “may hope to use this case to deregulate judicial election campaigns, but the decision below written by Chief Judge Easterbrook provides little reason for the Court to become involved. The Seventh Circuit, examining common, time-tested restrictions on judicial speech, reached the same unremarkable First Amendment conclusions as nearly all courts.”

The state contends that abstract tension among lower courts about proper legal standards do not justify review, and that when no District or Circuit court conflict exists under precedent, the SCOTUS shouldn’t interfere.

A docket entry shows that justices plan to discuss the case during a private conference Feb. 18, but that isn’t guaranteed and no timeline exists for when a decision must be made. Bopp has also filed a certiorari petition in the Siefert case, and the docket shows that case is scheduled for discussion the same day as Bauer.

Rehearing "7th Circuit upholds Indiana's judicial cannons" IL Sept. 1-14, 2010

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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