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Friday, October 12, 2012

Ind. Courts - More on "Indiana justice challenged over contentious ruling " [Updated]

Updating this ILB entry from yesterday evening, the subscription newsletter Indiana Legislative Insight has this item in its issue for the upcoming week:

There seems to be no organized statewide effort to oppose the retention of Justice Steve David, who faces retention for the first time in the wake of the Barnes “Castle Doctrine” ruling that riled a good portion of the electorate (and State House). We thought that there could be active organized opposition to his retention, but it seems that there are just pockets of resistance from tea party-type groups around the state.

These entities and assorted individuals are speaking out to like-minded organizations (such as the Indy Defenders of Liberty West reaching out last week to the Constitutional Patriots in Carmel) seeking to lay a foundation for “No” votes in early voting, but are flying largely flying under the radar in the broader picture, which keeps Justice David and his backers from actively forming and funding an aggressive retention committee.

The risk for Justice David: a late “October surprise” -- the potential for these groups or individuals banding together with no significant advance notice (perhaps with the backing of gun rights organizations) and throwing some cash into broadcast spots, newspaper and Internet ads, and direct mail. Such a strategy (think back to the late October surprise attack launched on the 1988 retention of then-Chief Justice Randall Shepard -- largely by two of his Court colleagues) could effectively prevent Justice David and his allies from responding in kind.

Here, from a Nov. 12, 2008 ILB entry, is a statement from the Indiana Courts on the 2008 retention election:
The 2008 retention ballot marks the first election where any Indiana Supreme Court Justice has attracted more than one million “yes” votes. Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, Justice Theodore R. Boehm and Justice Brent E. Dickson were each retained by Indiana voters with a solid “yes” across the state.

* 1,348,172 voters cast their ballot in favor of keeping Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard on the state’s highest court.
* 1,290,882 voters cast their ballot in favor of keeping Justice Theodore R. Boehm on the state’s highest court.
* 1,298,751 voters cast their ballot in favor of keeping Justice Brent E. Dickson on the state’s highest court.

This year, approximately 72% of the voters statewide asked that the three justices be returned to the bench (according to the numbers most recently available from the Indiana Secretary of State.) Historically, the justices have maintained a high approval rating by voters. In 1998, the last time Chief Shepard, Justice Boehm, and Justice Dickson were on the retention ballot, more than 70% of the voters cast a “yes” ballot.

The ILB hopes to obtain the stats from the 1988 retention election, to see what then-Chief Justice Randall Shepard's yes/no percent was in what appears to have been the most challenging of the appellate retention elections. Watch for an update.

[Updated at 6:14 PM] I'm told by a reliable source that in the 1968 1988 retention election, Chief Justice Shepard received a 61.7% "yes" vote.

I'm now attempting to locate or compile all the retention results since the 1970 constitutional changes. For starters, the online Secretary of State election reports only go back to 2000...

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 12, 2012 01:03 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts