The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear an important case on standing to challenge the actions of the Ohio Legislature.
The case is ProgressOhio.org Inc. v. JobsOhio, 12-1272.
JobsOhio is a private entity created by Governor John Kasich and the Republican Legislature to replace most of the functions of the Ohio Department of Development. The plan involves selling $1.5 billion bonds backed by the profits from liquor sales. The money would then be used to support businesses in Ohio.
ProgressOhio sued to stop the plan. The Organization alleges that JobsOhio violates a state constitutional provision that prohibits the state from forming a private corporation.
The question in this case is not whether JobsOhio is constitutional. Instead, the question is: does anyone have the ability to challenge the law. The lower courts have rules that ProgressOhio cannot challenge the law because it lacks standing.
In seeking review from the Ohio Supreme Court, PogressOhio argued that “The public should not be prevented from appealing to this court to prevent the other two branches from blatant attacks on the constitution . . .” In addition, JobsOhio suggests that legislators have standing to challenge the law “because of the statute’s effect on the appropriations process.”
In response, the State suggests that ProgressOhio and the other plaintiffs have suffered a “distinct injury” that would grant them standing to challenge the legislation.
Briefs will be filed shortly and the case will be set for argument, likely in the spring. A decision is likely before the end of the year.