Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mitch Daniels for President? Hopefully he'll appoint honest judges.

It appears that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is trying to distance himself from the Republican legislators in Indiana. Governor Daniels isn’t the radical type who would declare martial law and have the State Police round up any MIA Democratic legislators like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has threatened to do. Governor Daniels seems to have a much cooler and rational demeanor. Many are expecting Governor Daniels to announce, in the coming weeks, whether or not he will make a run at the White House in 2012. This may be the first presidential candidate where my vote would hinge on Governor Daniel’s ability to nominate judges.

I’m usually not a person who votes for presidential candidates based on hypothetical future Federal and Supreme Court appointments, but Mitch is a little different. I consider myself to be a fairly independent voter with a tendency to lean to the left, but I voted for Governor Daniels in the last election. He secured a Honda Plant about 30 miles from my family’s farm in Milan, Indiana and his political views seem to be closer to the middle than to the far right. (Please note that it is impossible for the far right and the far left to be right 100% of the time. That’s why I believe that standing on the fence is rational, not cowardly.) I like the fact that Daniels refrains from bragging to big money political bankrollers like David Koch about devious plans to trick Democrats into coming out of hiding, like Governor Walker so proudly boasted. (Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker didn’t really share his devious plan with David Koch; Governor Walker shared his devious plan with the editor of the Buffalo Beast, Ian Murphy, who was just pretending to be David Koch.)

So what are my current reservations about Governor Daniels’ ability to pick Supreme Court Justices? My greatest concern is the fact that the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court have run amuck during Daniels’ term as governor of Indiana. Before all of the social studies teachers and constitutionalists jump in to attack me, I understand the separation of powers between branches. I just want to know what happens when the high courts begin doing their own investigative work while reviewing appeals. That’s what appears to be happening with the Indiana Supreme and Appellate Courts. IP addresses registered to the Indiana Supreme Court have been racking up frequent flyer miles on the internet. It would be terrifying to think of the ramifications of what would happen if the Court’s internet browser history would be released to the public. How many cases would be overturned? Mine probably would because two Indiana Supreme Court IP addresses accounted for 227 hits on 43 pages on my website during the course of my appeal. My website did not appear in the court record so the Indiana Supreme Court had to go searching for it.

I know that Governor Daniels just can’t pick up the phone and fix the problem but there hasn’t been any attempt by anyone to even address it. On February 10, 2011, Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard sent me a letter stating that he concurred with the dismissal of the complaint against Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard that I filed with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. On December 17, 2010, Chief Justice Shepard denied my petition to transfer my appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court. Justice Shepard ruled against me on my appeal, and then he ruled against me on my complaint against the prosecutor; or visa-versa. Either way he should have recused himself in whichever case came second.

This is my biggest concern about Mitch Daniels making a run for United States President in 2012. Rather than look at the judicial histories of potential U.S. Supreme Court Justices, the Senate committee should look at the browsing histories from the prospective judges in an effort to see if justice was delivered blindly. Browsing the internet looking for answers is not the way the United States Judicial System was designed to work, but that’s how it works in Indiana. I’d really like to hear Mitch Daniels’ opinion on the matter. Maybe he could provide some insight into how his judicial appointments would differ from the members of the high courts in Indiana. If Governor Daniels decides to return my correspondence, I’ll let you know. For more information, go to

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