Discover more from Law Dork
Did Ohio Republicans see the election results? Or do they just not care?
Ohio's Republican lawmakers and governor are pushing back against 57% blowout wins for abortion rights and marijuana legalization at the ballot box.
Ohio Republicans are behaving badly — the result of some combination of gerrymandering, overconfidence, and stupidity.
After Ohio voters made clear their views on abortion bans — they voted to put abortion and reproductive rights in the state’s constitution — and marijuana bans — they voted to legalize recreational use — Republican leaders in the Buckeye state have responded with varying versions of, “Do you think you’re in charge here?”
First, Republicans in the legislature called Issue One — protecting abortion and other reproductive rights — “deceptive” in a news release issued two days after their loss, despite the fact that Ohio Supreme Court allowed Republicans to put their own “summary” language in front of the voters and lost anyway.
More importantly, though, the Republicans used the release to announce a plan to “prevent mischief by pro-abortion courts“ by stripping jurisdiction from the courts to interpret the constitutional provision. Per the release:
Ohio legislators will consider removing jurisdiction from the judiciary over this ambiguous ballot initiative. The Ohio legislature alone will consider what, if any, modifications to make to existing laws based on public hearings and input from legal experts on both sides.
This retroactive jurisdiction-stripping is something that a properly organized legislature — in other words, one that represented the views of the voters — would never consider in the days after a nearly 57% vote in favor of a constitutional amendment.
And yet, because Ohio is so gerrymandered, some Republicans there would eagerly do so.
Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, has pushed back on those most extreme efforts in the election’s aftermath — but only the most extreme efforts.
“We certainly accept the results of Issue 1 in Ohio ….” he said last week, nonetheless also claiming in the same news conference that, as the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jessie Balmert reported:
He believes most Ohioans are somewhere between the 2019 abortion ban and what passed in Issue 1.
"We always continue to evaluate how things are working," DeWine said. "Most Ohioans are somewhere in the middle."
So, per DeWine, Most Ohioans are between what DeWine wanted and … what Ohioans voted for.
And so, as Jessica Valenti covered on Thursday at her essential Abortion, Every Day newsletter, that’s exactly what they’re now considering:
Ohio Republicans are still at it! After a group of GOP lawmakers put out a press release threatening to strip the judiciary of their power to enforce Issue 1, another Republican has come out to suggest a ‘compromise’. The Ohio Capital Journal reports that Senate President Matt Huffman floated the idea of passing a 15-week ban[.]
Regardless of the legislative moves, though, the Ohio Supreme Court is going to have a big — and likely, the ultimate — role to play in this. (The seven-member court has four Republican members, including the governor’s son.)
The state’s high court is not waiting to weigh in, either. On Thursday, the court ordered the parties in ongoing litigation over Ohio’s roughly six-week abortion ban to brief about the effect of Issue One on the case.
The timing — which the court makes absolutely clear will not be extended — means the briefs are due on Dec. 7.
[Update, 4:45 p.m.: On Friday afternoon, the Statehouse News Bureau reported that it’s “likely” that Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost — named in the lawsuit — will argue in his filing that the six-week ban is not constitutional following passage of Issue One.
Karen Kasler’s report pointed to analysis from the attorney general’s office about the measure before passage, as well as a statement from Yost this week that “I find no exception for matters in which the outcome of an election is contrary to the preferences of those in power.”]
Although many amicus briefs were filed in the underlying appeal, it’s not clear from the order whether amicus briefs will be permitted in this round of briefing.
Law Dork will follow developments in the case.
Things aren’t much different with Issue Two in Ohio, the marijuana measure. It’s not a constitutional amendment, however, so the legislators are more free to make mischief.
As Bolts reported earlier this week, those efforts have already begun.
From Alex Burness:
Governor Mike DeWine and his fellow Republicans who run the legislature have stopped short of calling for total repeal, but even before Election Day, they had signaled their intent to make the law more restrictive if it passed. Now that it has, they’ve indicated they could make some changes as soon as in the next few weeks, ahead of the Dec. 7 effective date, while others may be a bit longer in the offing.
Given that, eyes will remain on Ohio in the days and weeks ahead.
Chris Geidner is a Buckeye and follows Ohio developments closely. Law Dork covers other states, too, so even M*chigan folks should consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Two important stories
The Dexter Wade story is such a horrifying story, and every development is another layer of horror.
NBC News’s Jon Schuppe reported:
An independent pathologist examining the newly exhumed body of Dexter Wade — the Mississippi man killed by police and buried in a pauper's grave without his mother’s knowledge — found a wallet with a state identification card that included the address of a home he shared with his mother, the family's lawyer said Thursday. …
[Bettersten Wade] reported her 37-year-old son missing on March 14, nine days after he was struck by a police cruiser as he was crossing a highway.
She got no information from police about what happened to him until Aug. 27, when she learned that he'd been killed less than an hour after he had left his house and buried in a pauper's field owned by Hinds County.
In the long-running civil rights litigation against Rikers and New York City’s jails, meanwhile, the independent monitor’s anger at the city’s handling of its jails — and the court-ordered oversight — is spilling over to the judge.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain ordered the city to explain why she shouldn’t hold the defendants in contempt, both for a specific development regarding an “Arson Reduction Housing Unit” and — in Swain’s words — for “the broader, consistent failure of the Department to communicate transparently, proactively, and accurately with the Monitoring Team.”
Despite that, the timeline is not exactly speedy, despite the fact that people in Rikers are being subjected to the city’s failures on a daily basis.
Even when there’s not appalling indifference, it can feel like it.