Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Eric Miller's Judicial Grab Bill Deep-Sixed By Bosma

A bill offered by Rep. Ralph Foley (R-Martinsville) which would have canned the current members of the judicial nominating commission and packed it with GOP appointees, and which would have allowed the new partisan commission to make recommendations to voters on whether to retain or reject state judges up for retention, was deep-sixed by House Speaker Brian Bosma today.

Foley's proposal would have canned the current six members of the judicial nominating commission and replaced them with 6 partisan members, three appointed by the Governor and three chosen from a list of 6 attorneys recommended by the Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem.

HB 1419 was never anything more than a thinly veiled plot hatched by Advance America's Eric Miller to get judges booted from the bench that he and his anti-gay Christian friends are upset with for making decisions with which they disagree, including allowing gay parents to adopt children. Last year, he tried a different tact at amending the State's Constitution to give the Senate a role in the retention of judges it did not like; that proposal, SJR 1 sailed through the Senate but was help up in the House.

In putting down the bill that angered the state's judiciary, Bosma offered the following comments:

After reviewing the testimony given in the committee room and discussing it with members that were present, I felt that this was an issue that we did not need to spend a lot of time on during the rest of the session. It's very clear that while many believe changes to the judicial nominating commission do need to occur, they need to be well thought out and perhaps be examined in an atmosphere that's a little more thoughtful and not quite so quick.

If HB 1419 had been enacted, Indiana would have become the only state in the country to place on the ballot an advisory statement instructing voters whether to vote to retain or not retain a sitting judge. Rep. Foley should be holding his head in shame as a practicing attorney for participating in this unprecedented power grab of the legislative branch over the judicial branch, upsetting our constitutional balance of powers and further politicizing our judiciary in the process.

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