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Mayor's redistricting plan shot down by judicial panel

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A judicial panel split down partisan lines sided with Democrats on Wednesday and threw out an Indianapolis City-County Council redistricting plan approved by the council's former GOP majority and signed into law by Republican Mayor Greg Ballard.

The Marion Superior Court panel of three Democratic judges and two Republicans ruled 3-2 that the redistricting plan was improper under Indiana law because the council drew the districts in late 2011 before a Democratic-majority council took office in 2012. A state law that applies specifically to Indianapolis says the council must redraw the district boundaries during the second year after a census, which last was conducted in 2010.

The court's majority opinion says the court now will draw new district boundaries, a step allowed by state law once the court has found the council failed to pass a proper redistricting plan.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard signed the current district plan into law on Jan. 1, 2012, but the three Democratic judges said the framework for the redistricting plan was created too early under the law.

An Indiana statute for Marion County says council members must redraw district boundaries during the second year after the census. The census took place in 2010, which means the boundaries should have been redrawn in 2012. Ballard contends he met that requirement by signing the plan in 2012.

“This decision represents the beginning of what we anticipated will be a multi-review process," Ballard said in a prepared statement. "We are respectful of the judicial process and will reserve comments on the merits until the final determination is made.”
 
The law allows for a direct appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court. The court also intervened in 2003 after Democrats and Republicans deadlocked over redistricting and drew the most recent council district boundaries.

Any new redistricting plan would be used for the first time in the 2015 municipal election.

Three council Democrats had sued in February to get the redistricting plan thrown out.

After the Democratic majority council was seated in January 2012, Democrats drafted a new redistricting plan and approved it along party lines late last year. Ballard vetoed it.

 

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  • If You Can't Win Elections Fair and Square...
    ...Cheat! It's much easier than convincing voters of the correctness of your position.
  • Likely to be reinstated
    The appellate courts in Indiana are mostly composed of Republican judges. Appellate judges are less likely to be affected by partisan politics. Look for the trial level 3 Democratic judges v 2 Republican judges decision to be reversed on appeal.
  • Who pays for dirty tricks
    This is a clear overreach by Republicans and the taxpayers have to pay the lawyers defending the crooks. Wasn't the legislation to eliminate the democratic at large council seats enough of a power grab. Greedy little liars in action.

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    1. Now if he'd just stay there...

    2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

    3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

    4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

    5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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