Courts have always played a major role in painting political landscapes, but the importance of the judiciary in determining public policy – and thereby influencing politics – seems particularly intense now. The Indiana Supreme Court recently intervened in no less than three cases, determining they are so important that the public is best served by the state’s top court bypassing the regular appeals process to expedite a final decision.
In coming weeks, the justices will decide:
•Whether the way the Indiana House leadership docked the pay of Democratic state representatives meets legal muster.
•Whether Democrat Vop Osili or a Republican appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels will replace Charlie White as secretary of state.
•Whether Daniels is compelled to testify in the lawsuit between the state and IBM over the canceled contract to privatize some elements of the welfare department.
In addition, a decision on the constitutionality of Indiana’s new school voucher plan is winding its way through the courts, and an Allen County case regarding selling unused school buildings could end up at the high court as well.