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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ind. Gov't. - "Indiana Supreme Court ruling will determine who is next Secretary of State" [Updated]

That was the headline to Eric Bradner's Feb. 15th story in the Evansville Courier & Press. Here are some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS — Now that former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White has been removed from that office, the Indiana Supreme Court will decide, in effect, whether a Republican or a Democrat will replace him.

The five-member court has scheduled a Feb. 29 hearing on a case to determine whether White, a Republican who won the office in November 2010, was eligible to be a candidate in the first place because of voter registration discrepancies.

The three-member Indiana Recount Commission ruled last year in White's favor, but a Marion County judge overturned that decision. Then, the Supreme Court said it would step in.

That is unrelated to a separate criminal case in which White was convicted earlier this month of six felony charges, including voter fraud, in Hamilton County. Because of those convictions, he was immediately removed from office, although he can appeal his conviction.

The key question now is who will replace White and take an office where the holder serves as Indiana's elections chief and oversees business registration and securities investigations.

The difference between the cases determines who will be secretary of state. If White is removed because of the felony convictions, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels will appoint his replacement. If he's found ineligible to have been on the ballot in the first place, Vop Osili, his 2010 Democratic opponent, will be installed as secretary of state.

The Indiana Democratic Party is arguing that White should not have been a candidate in the first place. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office isn't defending White individually, but Zoeller has said the decision should be left to the Indiana Recount Commission.

"At issue is the authority of Indiana's bipartisan Recount Commission that rendered its unanimous decision on a candidate's ballot eligibility based on the law and the facts and evidence," said Zoeller, whose office filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

"The county court's decision would establish a harmful precedent regarding the proper authority to review questions of candidate eligibility," he said.

ILB: Here is the Feb. 7, 2012 Order of the Supreme Court granting transfer and setting out the schedule.

Appellant's brief was due Feb. 14th (here are the briefs of both the Recount Commission and Charlie White), Appellee's brief was due Feb. 21st (here is the brief of the Ind. Democratic Party) , and Appellant's reply brief is due Feb. 24th (see elow).

The ILB will be posting all the briefs as they become available.

In the Feb. 29th argument, each side has been granted 30 minutes to present argument.

For background on all aspects of the Charlie White disputes, see this long ILB list.

[Updated Feb. 24] Here, filed Feb. 24, 2012, are the reply briefs of the Indiana Recount Commission and of Charlie White.

[Updated Feb. 27] Here, filed today, is Parker’s Reply in Support of Cross Appeal.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 22, 2012 01:34 PM
Posted to Indiana Government