News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 12, 2013

Attorney General files appeal in Right to Work case

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office this morning appealed a Lake County Superior Court order that found Indiana’s right-to-work law unconstitutional, according to a statement released around noon today.

As state government’s lawyer that defends state statutes from lawsuits, the Attorney General’s Office today filed notice that it is appealing the Sept. 5 ruling in Sweeney v. Zoeller, a legal challenge to House Enrolled Act 1001 of 2012, a statute regarding involuntary union membership dues. During the appeal, the trial court’s ruling is stayed, meaning the status quo remains intact.

In the release, Attorney General Zoeller issued this statement:

“We are asking the Indiana Supreme Court to reverse the lower court’s decision and find the statute is constitutional. We don’t begrudge the right of private plaintiffs to challenge a statute, but my office has a duty to defend the policy-making authority of the people’s elected representatives in the Legislature,” Zoeller said.

Because the trial court declared portions of the statute unconstitutional, the State’s appeal will be heard in the Indiana Supreme Court, rather than the Indiana Court of Appeals, the release states. Notice of appeal was filed today, both sides will have the opportunity to file briefs later and the Court will decide whether to schedule oral argument. Zoeller noted that his office’s Solicitor General, Thomas M. Fisher, will appear for the State and defend the statute.

Previously the Attorney General’s Office successfully defended the same statute from a challenge brought by the same plaintiff in federal district court in the case Sweeney v. Daniels, which is now before the federal appeals court, the release states. Zoeller’s office also is defending the right-to-work statute in a separate case in state court, United Steelworkers v. Daniels, which has not yet been decided at the trial court level.

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