Indianapolis Tea Party Corp. has produced a radio advertisement critical of Justice Steven David ahead of his retention vote on Tuesday.
David, who was appointed to the court in 2010, has faced opposition due to his 2011 opinion in Richard L. Barnes v. State of Indiana. David wrote for a 3-2 majority that there was no right to reasonably resist unlawful residential entry by police. The Legislature reacted this year to public outcry, passing SEA 1, which said such a right does exist.
In response to the unusual opposition to a retention vote, David was authorized by the Judicial Qualifications Commission to create a website, www.justicestevendavid.com. Appellate judges typically may not campaign for retention unless they encounter active opposition.
David said in a recent interview with the Indiana Lawyer that, “It’s important to look at a person’s body of work rather than one decision.” He noted taking part in more than 150 Indiana Supreme Court decisions since his appointment, more than 30 of which he wrote.
In the tea party radio ad, an announcer says, “For hundreds of years, your home was your castle. … As a result of Justice Steven David’s opinion, your home is no longer your castle … Is Justice Steven David a judge Hoosiers want on the Indiana Supreme Court?”
The tea party website, www.indianapolisteaparty.com, says the ad is airing statewide. Representatives of Indianapolis Tea Party Corp. did not respond to messages seeking comment.
David recently published an endorsement on his website from former Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard, who wrote, “It is good for Indiana that Steve David hears the call of public service, and we should vote to retain him in office with confidence that we’re lucky to have him.”
Shepard also endorsed other appellate judges up for retention as well as the process that placed them on the bench. “Indiana’s system of merit appointment and retention has saved us from the sort of unseemly judicial political campaigns so visible even in the states around us. And it has promoted able people to the bench. The public’s knowledge of this fact has produced higher voter participation and higher voter approval over time,” Shepard wrote.
Also on the statewide retention ballot Tuesday are Justice Robert Rucker and Court of Appeals Judge Nancy Vaidik. Court of Appeals Judge John Baker will appear on ballots in COA District 1, 53 mostly southern and central Indiana counties excluding Delaware, Hamilton, Madison and Marion counties; and COA judges Michael Barnes and Paul Mathias will appear on ballots in District 3, 20 counties in northern Indiana.