Three Views from the Bench
Sarah Evans Barker
AT THE CONFERENCE where the authors whose work appears in this book first presented their ideas, three judges were invited to attend and comment on the role law plays in their decision-making. Those comments were transcribed and are reproduced below.
What’s law got to do with it? Everything.
For me, who forsook making decisions based on politics when I took the oath of office as a judge fifteen years ago, the critique of some in the political science academy that judicial decision-making is not based on law but on politics is disheartening.
And I think that critique is wrong.
I propound the following three examples from my own court:
(1) In 1988, the four Republican members of the Indiana Supreme Court denied Republican governor Robert Orr’s request that Democratic gubernatorial aspirant Evan Bayh be declared ineligible to run for governor because he did not meet the state’s constitutional residency requirement.
(2) In 2003, each of the members of the Court—three Democrats and two Republicans—voted to reject the competing plans of the Democratic and Republican parties for redrawing the boundaries of twenty-five Indianapolis city council districts. Instead, the Court unanimously redrew the boundaries without regard to the political composition of the districts.