Don Sherfick

SJR-7: More evidence of what Senator Hershman knew, and when he knew it.

Filed By Don Sherfick | March 29, 2007 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: amendment, Brandt Hershman, Ellen Andersen, Indiana Constitution, marriage, Robert Bork, SJR-7, SJR7

My post earlier today concerning Judge Robert Bork's calling "poorly drafted" what's essentially the same language as used in the second sentence of SJR-7 prompted this comment from Ellen Anderson, a fellow contributor to this site and who is Associate Professor Of Political Science at IUPUI. It's well worth "elevating" to the top, and only reinforces my belief that Senator Hershman chose to ignore the advice of Judge Robert Bork and made no changes to SJR-7, even after being told about its problems:

In my opinion, Senator Hershman and his advisors are well aware of the potential mischief that the words "or any other Indiana law" and have chosen to use that term deliberately.

I base my conclusion on two conversations I had with Senator Hershman in early 2005 about the words "or any other Indiana law."

The first conversation took place in his Senatorial cubicle. I explained to him that I was quite worried that "or any other Indiana law" would have the effect of binding the hands of the legislature as well as the courts. At a minimum, I said, the language would require the judiciary itself to decide whether or nor SJR 7 affected the ability of the legislature to pass couple- protection legislation -- which was exactly the kind of judicial involvement Sen. Hershman had said he wanted to avoid.

I asked him to amend SJR 7 to remove those five words. (This was before SJR 7 passed the Senate the first time; Sen. Hershman could have altered the text without delaying the passage of SJR 7 at all.) He told me that he was open to the change but that he wanted to consult with some of his legal advisors first.

A few days later I followed up with him in the hallway. His response was that he had talked with his legal advisors and they'd assured him that the original text was fine. I pointed out to him that changing the amendment's wording wouldn't delay its progress at all and that the change would *insure* that the amendment only affected the judiciary. He was not moved.

In short, Sen. Hershman knew about the potential legislative limitions posed by SJR 7 from the outset and deliberately chose to keep the language in the amendment.

Right on, Ellen. But of course now Senator Hershman says we can't go back, even though it was his conscious choice to go full speed ahead with language he knew had lots of problems. And of course he'll continue to blame it on the opponents.

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