A  lawsuit has been filed asking a federal court to declare Marion County’s system of selecting judges unconstitutional.

The suit claims Marion County’s judicial selection system violates the federal and state constitutions, as well as the Voting Rights Act.

In Marion County, as well as Lake and St. Joseph, voters do not directly elect judges as in Indiana’s other counties.  Instead, the candidates are selected by a Judicial Nominating Committee, and the Committee submits three names to the Governor, and the Governor appoints Marion County Superior Court judges.

Residents do vote to retain judges, however.

The suit argues if elections for Superior Court judges in Marion County were free and open, as they are in most other counties in the State, minority residents would be able to elect judges of their choice.   Instead, the Governor, who is elected in a state-wide election, not solely in Marion County, chooses Superior Court judges in Marion County.

The suit claims such a system of judicial selection violates the Voting Rights Act since residents in most other counties can vote for Superior Court judges.

The suit also argues that Marion County’s judicial selection process violates the 1st and 14th Amendments.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to throw out the current system of judicial selection and replace it with direct elections by the voters.

You can read a copy of the suit here.