Updated: July 20, 2013 6:29AM
The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld fines levied by House Republicans on Democrats for their 2011 legislative walkout.
The court split 3-2 on an opinion issued Tuesday finding that the constitutional separation of powers bars the courts from interfering in internal legislative decisions. The state’s highest court approved a request that the case be dismissed.
Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote for the majority that it is not the court’s role to assess punishments within the legislative branch of government. Justices Loretta Rush and Robert Rucker dissented. The pair wrote that the House’s “discretion to punish its members” doesn’t include withholding pay.
Majority House Republicans ordered the state auditor to withhold the fines from Democrats who spent weeks at an Illinois hotel in protest of the right-to-work bill.