Berry v. CrawfordAnnotate this Case
After certain members of the Indiana House of Representatives Democratic Caucus left the state to prevent the formation of a quorum in order to block a vote on impending legislation, House Republicans passed motions to fine the absent legislators. The fines were withheld from the legislators' pay. Plaintiffs brought suit seeking to recover the withheld pay. The trial court concluded that the determination of the fine was outside the court's jurisdiction because the determination of the fine was within the House's "exclusive constitutional authority" but that review of the collection of fines was within the court's jurisdiction. The court then ordered return of the withheld pay and issued an injunction preventing future withholding. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that when, as here, the Indiana Constitution expressly assigns certain functions to the legislative branch without any contrary constitutional limitation or qualification, disputes arising in the exercise of such legislative powers are nonjusticiable, and the doctrine of separation of powers precludes judicial consideration of the claims for relief. Remanded for dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims for lack of justiciability.