INDIANAPOLIS, April 4, 2017. The Marion County Bar Association (“MCBA”) opposes House Bill 1036 as it prevents Marion County residents from exercising the same rights exercised by citizens in 88 other counties in the state of Indiana—the right to select its judges. As noted by the Seventh Circuit in its 2015 decision overturning the previous judicial selection system, “no right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we live.”

The MCBA believes Marion County residents are just as qualified to select their judges as residents of Hamilton, Boone or Hancock County. Approximately two-thirds of the state’s minority residents reside in either Lake County or Marion County, and House Bill 1036 would result in both counties being among only three others in the state where citizens have no voice in the judicial selection process. The MCBA believes that in order to ensure a continuum of increased diversity on the Marion County bench, the judicial selection process must include a mandatory and intentional effort toward selecting judges that reflect the community they serve. Providing Marion County residents the right to vote for their judges—a right exercised by the majority of Indiana residents—is necessary to achieve that goal.

The Marion County Bar Association (“MCBA”) was originally founded in 1925 and is the Indianapolis affiliate of the National Bar Association (“NBA”), America’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly Black attorneys and judges. MCBA is a member of NBA Region VII, which is comprised of local NBA affiliates in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. MCBA is proud that Region VII was recognized as the NBA 2014 Region of the Year for its members’ active involvement in their local Associations.

The vision of MCBA is guided by the fundamental principles of FAIRNESS, JUSTICE, and EQUALITY for all. MCBA’s mission is to support the professionalism and collegiality of attorneys, judges, and law students in the Indianapolis area by providing a forum for meaningful political involvement, positive economic development, broad opportunities for continuing legal education, and active participation in social justice initiatives that impact people of color within our local community. MCBA has a special interest in supporting the ongoing development of minorities within our legal community.

MCBA is an entirely volunteer bar association with a membership of more than 200 individuals across Central Indiana.

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