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Marion Co. judge selection is unconstitutional

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The efforts of the two major political parties presumably to keep the judicial system in Indianapolis fair and balanced is apparently against the rules.

U. S. District Court Judge Richard Young ruled the state law that governs the process of electing judges in Marion County as unconstitutional. The ACLU of Indiana filed the lawsuit on behalf of Common Cause Indiana in November 2012.

"The right to vote guaranteed to the citizenry by the Constitution is the right to a meaningful vote," said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director. "We applaud Chief Judge Young's decision today, which ensures citizens will have that right."

The law created a system where the Republican and Democratic parties in Marion County nominated candidates to fill half of the available judgeships on the general election ballot. That would ensure that all of the nominees would be elected and the elephants versus donkeys scorecard on the bench would always remain a tie.

The real battle between candidates is then pushed back to the primary election where any number of persons could appear on the ballot to fill the pre-designated number of available positions. For instance, if 12 judges are up for election in the general election, the Republican or Democratic primary ballots would specify that voters nominate up to six candidates to appear on the general election ballot.

The ACLU of Indiana argued that the practice removed a voter’s choice and made the election a mere formality. The suit also claimed that the law disenfranchised voters by only allowing voters to choose half of the judgeships instead of have a say in all available positions.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young stayed his decision for 30 days or until after a decision on appeal. The stay allows this year’s general election to remain in tact.

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