Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Was Daniels right about the Court of Appeals?

June 30, 2010

Gov. Mitch Daniels blasted the state Court of Appeals last year when it unanimously struck down Indiana’s 2005 law requiring photo identification in order to vote. Daniels called the 3-0 decision “an act of judicial arrogance,” saying, "The Legislature had every right to write that law. This decision will be a footnote to history,"

The Court of Appeals decision may indeed become a footnote, now that the state Supreme Court upheld the statute 4-1 today. Click here the story.

The League of Women Voters originally brought the case into the court of Marion Superior Judge S.K. Reid, who tossed it out. The league then took Reid’s decision to the appeals court and got the decision Daniels criticized.

Before the league appealed Reid's decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in a separate case brought by state Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis.

Today, state Supreme Court Justice Brent Dickson noted that no one has challenged the law as preventing or inhibiting them from voting. However, he added that the decision wouldn’t prevent someone from claiming such a charge in the future.

The court also said the law didn’t qualify voters. And then there was that little matter of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

So, the appellate court’s decision was rammed back down its throat.

How do you feel about Daniels’ view that the appellate decision was nakedly partisan?

The law was passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature and Republican governor, and the three appellate judges were appointed by former Democratic governors Evan Bayh and Frank O’Bannon. The only state Supreme Court justice dissenting today was Ted Boehm, who was appointed by Bayh. Those backing the law included two named by Democrats and two appointed by Republicans.

What about the broader question of confidence in the courts? To what extent are judges and justices influenced by their personal philosophies and political leanings?

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