The Indiana Supreme Court has refused to sidestep the state’s intermediate appellate court on a judicial-election issue from Lake County, while the lower appeals court decided not to grant an expedited-hearing request despite the pending election.
At IL deadline, Lake Circuit judicial prospect William I. Fine, an attorney in Highland, remained on the ballot after the justices turned down two emergency requests to intervene and the COA declined to rush briefing before the Nov. 2 general election that could put Fine on the bench.
The case is Michael Lambert v. William I Fine, No. 49A04-1009-PL556, which stems from an Indiana Election Commission decision in early September that took Fine off the ballot. That left voters with only one choice – Merrillville Town Judge George Paras, who won the Democratic primary in May to replace retiring Lake Circuit Judge Lorenzo Arredondo.
A Marion County judge reversed that decision Sept. 13 and granted a temporary restraining order that stopped the state from keeping Fine off the Nov. 2 ballot. Judge Michael Keele noted that no basis in law exists to interpret state party rules in a way to override a statute and that the commission doesn’t have the subject matter jurisdiction to endorse state party rules, let alone at the expense of a statutory grant of power to a county chair.
Fine’s challenger Michael Lambert, a Winfield town council member who argues that a party caucus should have been held to choose the Republican candidate, filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals Sept. 17. That same day he filed an emergency motion for the Supreme Court to take jurisdiction because of the public importance at issue.
Justices declined those requests, refusing to take the appeal away from the appellate court at this point. The Court of Appeals then declined the expedited request, and denied Fine’s motion to dismiss.
Rehearing "Candidacy issues?" IL Sept. 15-28, 2010