|Former Marion County Assessor and |
Democratic judicial candidate Greg Bowes
In 1992, the Judicial Commission issued an advisory opinion saying that paying a slating fee for a party endorsement is a violation of the Judicial Code of Conduct. Since then the county chairmen have thumbed their nose at the opinion, claiming that the slating fee payments were "voluntary." That suggestion is roundly mocked by former Marion County judges (the only ones who feel free to talk) who say the fees are in fact mandatory...if you didn't pay, you didn't get slated. Of the well over 100 Marion County judicial candidates endorsed by the Marion County Republican or Democratic Parties since 1992, not a single one was endorsed without paying the slating fee.
There is a reason to believe that this is the last hurrah for Marion County judicial slating. The Judicial Commission has before it two complaints about slating. One of those complaints was filed by yours truly and the other was filed by former Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm and former Court of Appeals Judge Sue Shields. Then we have the comments of Governor Mitch Daniels' trashing the Marion County judicial slating system during the announcement of the appointment of Mark Massa to the Supreme Court. Gov. Daniels called the Marion County judicial slating system a "travesty" and said it was wrong that judgeships in Indianapolis are "purchased" with party support and the payment of slating fees. I have a suspicion that "advisory" opinion of 1992 will be replaced by something with teeth.
|Judge Carol Orbison|
A friend of mine told me that sitting Marion County judges would be angry should I be successful in ending slating. Quite the contrary. Judges hate slating and raising money to pay the party chairmen for an endorsement. They would celebrate the end of slating...or at least the requirement that they pay a slating fee.
My hope is that my campaign will show judicial candidates that the Republican electorate does not like being denied its right to pick judges and is willing to reward a candidate who takes a stand against the payment of slating fees to party bosses for an endorsement. The fact that payment of a slating fee could turn out to be a negative in a competitive primary may well effectively end the practice.