The Indianapolis Marion County City-County Council and Mayor Gregory Ballard agreed on an ordinance dividing Marion County into legislative districts. Three members of the Council (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint seeking a declaration that the ordinance failed to comply with the Redistricting Statute for Marion County, which assigns the task of redrawing the County’s legislative districts to the judiciary if the County’s legislative and executive branches become deadlocked over required redistricting. The trial court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment and then drew new legislative districts, concluding that because the Council divided the County by ordinance in 2011, not during 2012 as required by the Redistricting Statute, the ordinance failed to satisfy the requirement for “mandatory redistricting” during 2012. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that this case did not present a redistricting impasse that required judicial intervention. View "Ballard v. Lewis" on Justia Law
Almost two million Indiana voters cast their ballots for Secretary of State in November 2010. The Indiana Democratic Party sought to have the winner in the election, Republican Charlie White, declared ineligible to assume office because he had not been registered to vote at the address at which he resided in July 15, 2010, the deadline for certifying candidates for state office. The Indiana Recount Commission dismissed the petition and later denied it. The circuit court reversed, directing that the Commission declare White ineligible. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court and affirmed the Commission's dismissal, holding that the the Commission's action was not arbitrary, capricious or otherwise not in accordance with law because the Indiana Democratic Party's challenge was untimely. View "White v. Ind. Democratic Party" on Justia Law
Several hundred citizens of the Town of Fishers, including Plaintiffs, filed a petition with the Fishers Town Clerk seeking a referendum on whether the Town should convert itself from a town into a second class city. The Town Council subsequently passed a resolution proposing a reorganization with Fall Creek Township that would merge the two entities into a reorganized city. Plaintiffs filed suit in U.S. District Court, seeking to compel the Town Council to schedule their petition for a referendum. Thereafter, the Fishers Town Council and the Township held a public meeting during which both entities adopted the final reorganization plan. A referendum on the plan was scheduled for the November 2012 general election. The Town Council subsequently passed a resolution ordering a referendum on Plaintiffs' proposal in the general election. Defendants then moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint, which the federal district court denied. The Supreme Court accepted certification to address a question of state law and held that a political unit may reorganize into a city under Indiana's Reorganization Act in a manner that eliminates voting rights recognized under Indiana law, including reorganization as a city with a council elected entirely at large and a mayor appointed by that council. View "Kole v. Faultless" on Justia Law
Appellant George Janiec, a Republican Party candidate for Mayor of the City of Hammond and an incumbent member of the Hammond School Board, was removed from the May 3, 2011 primary election ballot by Appellee Lake County Board of Election and Registration. Appellant challenged the Boardâs decision in Lake Superior Court, requesting judicial review and injunctive relief. The trial court found in favor of the Board. Appellant appealed the trial courtâs decision and sought immediate transfer of the appeal to the Supreme Court. The Board and Lake Superior Court held that Appellantâs candidacy was inconsistent with the ethical policies applicable to members of the Hammond School Board. The Supreme Court found no basis in statute or law for disqualifying Appellant on this basis, and enjoined the Board from removing Appellantâs name from the ballot in the May 2011 primary election.