Ohio Supreme Court: ProgressOhio v. JobsOhio

Columbus Dispatch article yesterday afternoon relays the question of “Whether a liberal policy group and two Democratic lawmakers can sue JobsOhio's having now morphed into a larger question of who can sue the government.”

“The issue before the high court is whether ProgressOhio, state Sen. Michael Skindell of Lakewood and now-former Rep. Dennis Murray of Sandusky have legal standing to sue over the constitutionality of Gov. John Kasich’s JobsOhio plan in 2011,” the Dispatch’s article says -- and two lower courts have already ruled they did not, making the implications stemming from what happens tomorrow when the JobsOhio case presents oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court stretch far beyond this one lawsuit.

Franklin County’s Common Pleas and Appeals courts ruled that Rothenberg, Skindell and Murray didn’t have legal standing to sue because they could not prove personal injury by the creation ofJobsOhio, nor their claiming harm to the public.

-- and The Dispatch reported another catch. “Rothenberg’s original lawsuit had nothing to do with standing, but whether it was constitutional for the state to ‘invest’ in a private corporation such as JobsOhio. The language of the law includes a provision requiring that all constitutional challenges had to be filed within 60 days of the law’s effective date, but the principal act that Rothenberg and his counterparts say is unconstitutional —JobsOhio’s acquisition of the state’s wholesale liquor profits, to fund the agency — didn’t take place until Feb. 1 of this year, long after that 60-day window for constitutional challenges closed.

“If groups representing the public are not allowed to sue over potentially unconstitutional provisions passed by the legislature,” Rothenberg was quoted as saying. “it gives extraordinary power to the legislature to pass things in conflict with our Constitution.”