The Indiana Court of Appeals has agreed to hear oral arguments for appeals of previous rulings for the Terre Haute mayor's office challenge.
Shortly after the election, former Mayor Kevin Burke filed a legal challenge regarding mayor-elect Duke Bennett's eligibility to take office based on the federal Hatch Act, a 1939 law that limits political activity of federal, state and local employees.
The Hatch Act applies to employees of state, federal and local agencies and certain non-profits that receive federal money in the form of Community Block Grants, Headstart funds and other federal Transportation funds.
Vigo County Circuit Court Judge David Bolk ruled that Bennett could take office last December, but he also ruled that Bennett was a covered Hatch Act employee during the time he was running for office.
In response to the rulings, Burke appealed Bolk's ruling to allow Bennett to take office and Bennett appealed Bolk's ruling that he was subject to the Hatch Act while he was running for the mayor's office. (Bennett claims that he is not a covered employee because he was not directly involved in the administration of Headstart funds received by his former employer).
The arguments are scheduled for July 8, 2008 in Indianapolis and online recordings of the arguments will be available through the Indiana Court of Appeals website. http://www.in.gov/judiciary/appeals/
*No new evidence is presented in the appeals process and no new witnesses will be called. It's rare for the Appeals Court to hear oral arguments. Apparently, the judges want clarification regarding some of the legal arguments presented by both parties in their legal briefs.