Statement of the American Policy Roundtable Regarding the Ohio Supreme Court Decision on Walgate v. Kasich March 24 2016
Rachel Perez, 440-263-5086
Cleveland, Ohio - "Today's decision by the Ohio Supreme Court is a tortured, divided and deeply confusing opinion. Even the most casual observer can tell that something is wrong here. A first year law student understands that Constitutional law cannot be rewritten by a Governor and Legislature. That is the issue the Ohio Courts refuse to address. Today's divided opinion does leave several legal options open which we are now taking under consideration."
Background This case, Walgate v. Kasich is a challenge to the illegal and extra-constitutional actions of Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Legislature. In 2009 Ohioans passed a limited casino gambling amendment. The amendment was carefully constructed by lawyers of the casino industry. The amendment provided for four carefully defined and located casinos.
After being elected, Governor John Kasich entered into a memorandum of understanding with casino owners that altered the number of gambling facilities, the prescribed tax rates, and other important issues. The memorandum was then presented as legislation and passed by the Ohio General Assembly. The measure directly violated the 2009 Amendment and two prior constitutional amendments passed by the voters of Ohio. Thus the Executive and Legislative branches overrode the Ohio Constitution in three specific places. The principles of legal construction and jurisdiction are clear that statutory laws and Executive Orders are not designed nor capable to override Constitutional law. Therefore, the changes made by the Governor and Legislature are illegal.
This is the basic case presented in Walgate v. Kasich. To date the merits of this case, after nearly five years, have NEVER been brought before the trial court. The Common Pleas Judge in direct contradiction to the filed case, yielded to the pressure of the casino industry and permitted the casinos to be named as defendants in this case. NOTE: We the plaintiffs NEVER sued the casino industry, yet the trial court gave the casinos standing in the case. Our case has been and remains that the Executive and Legislative Branches have acted illegally. Next, the Trial Court refused to grant standing to the Plaintiffs, including the Roundtable. The claim made by the state was that none of the multiple plaintiffs are harmed by the Governor's actions, any more than any other Ohioans. Therefore, the state claimed we had no standing to sue. The Appellate Court agreed and the Supreme Court largely concurred, though did permit one exception for standing.
This raises a critical question going forward for the state of Ohio. If the people have no standing in Court to call upon the Judicial Branch to enforce the Constitution over Executive or Legislative over-reach, then what will stop further abuses? If the people of Ohio do not have standing in Court to enforce their Constitution, where do they turn?
The Ohio Roundtable is a division of The American Policy Roundtable founded in 1980. The Roundtable is a non-profit, independent public policy organization. For more information please contact Rachel Perez, at 440-263-5086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.