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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Ind. Decisions - More on Fort Wayne Airport decision

Following up on reports yesterday and Tuesday on the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority ruling (scroll down to read), there is this editorial in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel that concludes:

A group called SMDfund filed a lawsuit in 2003 challenging the law that created the airport authority. The law, the suit said, violated the state constitution’s prohibition on special legislation that affects only certain communities instead of the whole state. Lawmakers historically have gotten around that provision by using population limits instead of naming specific locations. The airport-authority legislation, for example, allowed a city-county airport authority in any county populated by more than 300,000 but less than 400,000 people. Guess which Indiana county is the only one of 92 to fit that category?

The Indiana Supreme Court had always looked the other way instead of confronting such fiction. But in 2003, justices struck down an annexation law in St. Joseph County because it was contrary to one applying to the rest of Indiana. That made a lot of people nervous.

Which the court probably realizes. This week, it ruled against SMDfund, but on the narrow, technical grounds that the group shouldn’t have waited 17 years before challenging the law. Of course, the group had no reason to challenge the law before the Supreme Court signaled that it might take such a challenge seriously.

Nobody should relax too much because of this ruling. The court left another shoe up in the air, which it could drop at any time.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 4, 2005 04:22 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions