Marion County needs a new method for choosing judges. A federal court found the old method to be unconstitutional, and the effort to replace it has sparked controversy. Members of the Black Legislative Caucus in the General Assembly object to a bill that passed the state Senate. It would create a new commission that would choose Marion County judges who would then face a retention vote after six years on the bench. The Black Legislative Caucus says that the old system created a diverse bench in Marion County and members believe that a commission appointed by the General Assembly would lead to less diversity.
“It encourages disenfranchisement of minority voters,” Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) said, “and it flies in the face of voting rights, and that’s why were not supportive of this bill.”
“There ought to be regular elections just as there are in the 88 other cities across the state of Indiana,” Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) argued, “where folks can do direct elections. You put your name on the ballot, you put your party affiliation next to your name, people go to the polls and they vote.”