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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today, the right-to-work law challenge

In Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General and Rick J. Ruble, Commissioner of the In. Dept. of Labor v. James M. Sweeney, David A. Fagan, Charles Severs et. al., a 10-page, 5-0 opinion with a separate concurring opinion by Justice Rucker, Justice Dickson concludes:

We conclude that Indiana Code sections 22-6-6-8 and 22-6-6-10 in the Indiana Right to Work Law do not violate Article 1, Section 21 of the Indiana Constitution. Any compulsion to provide services does not constitute a demand made by the State of Indiana. We reverse the trial court's entry of declaratory judgment and its denial of the defendants' motion to dismiss.
The Court restricted its analysis to whether the statutes violated Sec. 21 of Art. 1 of the Indiana Constitution. The vote: Rush, C.J., and David and Massa, JJ., concur. Rucker, J., concurs in result with separate opinion.

Justice Rucker, concurring in result, writes beginning on on p. 6:

I concur in the result reached by the majority. I write separately to emphasize the significance of the Union seeking “a general declaration that the Indiana Right to Work Law is unconstitutional on its face . . . .” Slip op. at 3. As the majority points out, “[w]hen a party claims that a statute is unconstitutional on its face, the claimant assumes the burden of demonstrating that there are no set of circumstances under which the statute can be constitutionally applied.” Id. (emphasis added) (quoting Baldwin v. Reagan, 715 N.E.2d 332, 337 (Ind. 1999)). * * *

What is not at stake in this case is an “as applied” constitutional challenge to the statute. Unlike the heavy burden placed on a party seeking to challenge a statute on its face, an “as-applied” constitutional challenge asks “only that the reviewing court declare the challenged statute or regulation unconstitutional on the facts of the particular case.” * * *

In essence there may very well exist a set of facts and circumstances that if properly presented and proven could demonstrate that a union has actually been deprived of compensation for particular services by application of the Right to Work Law. And thus as to that union the statute would be unconstitutional as applied. However, this is not that case.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 6, 2014 03:27 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions