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Monday, August 19, 2013
Ind. Courts - Commentary by John Krull: "Massa’s decision damages court’s and his own reputation"
Just posted at The Statehouse File, John Krull writes in part:
INDIANAPOLIS – If Indiana Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa ever gets a chance to address a law school class or graduation ceremony, let’s hope he speaks about something he understands – like the importance of loyalty and friendship.A bit more from the long commentary:
He should stay away, though, from subjects he just doesn’t get – such as conflicts of interest.
Or the dignity of the state’s highest court.
A few days ago, Massa delivered a lesson on the limits of his comprehension. On the morning of Aug. 14, four environmental groups filed a request with the Indiana Supreme Court that Massa recuse himself from a case coming before the court, the controversial coal-to-synthetic gas plant proposed for Rockport.
The environmental groups cited two reasons that Massa would have a conflict of interest – his personal friendship with Mark Lubbers, the Indiana project director for the group trying to build the plant, and the work Massa did as general counsel for former Gov. Mitch Daniels. Daniels was an energetic supporter of the plant.
Massa gave the request about as much consideration as he would choosing the toppings on a pizza – and he got the response out in about the amount of time it takes to get one delivered. He released it Wednesday afternoon, just hours after the environmental groups filed the request.
It was a remarkably fast bit of writing, given that he must have been typing with only his middle finger.
In his response, the Indiana Supreme Court justice dismissed his friendship of 28 years with Lubbers as being of no great consequence. Massa must have forgotten that Lubbers helped launch his career by hiring him to be part of Gov. Robert Orr’s staff in the 1980s and spoke at his investiture for the Supreme Court. Clearly, the times that he and Lubbers were on Daniels’ senior staff also must have slipped his mind.One thing Krull says later in the article that opponents of the project will differ with:
Massa also said that he had no extrajudicial knowledge of the enabling legislation that made the plant possible. He argued that he “had no involvement in the Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Gasification.” He also said that he didn’t review the bill before it became law.
Given that he was the governor’s top staff lawyer and the Rockport deal was one of the Daniels’ administration’s major initiatives, Massa’s statement immediately prompted scientists to begin searching the Statehouse for the hermetically sealed bubble in which the man must have been working and living.
One way or the other, the Rockport deal will be resolved soon and fade from public attention.If the Rockport plant is built, and Indiana citizens are tied to artificially high gas prices over 30 years, the deal will not fade from memory.
Here is a list of earlier ILB entries on the Rockport project.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 19, 2013 02:55 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts