The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a non-profit, non-partisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, voting rights, regulation, taxation, and search and seizures.

1851 Center Staff Members

MAURICE A. THOMPSON – Executive Director

Maurice Thompson has directed the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law since founding it in 2008.  In that time, he has prevailed in state and federal courts in lawsuits advancing health care freedom, private property rights, taxpayer rights, school choice, political speech, commercial speech, ballot access, and voter integrity, while taking on institutions such as state and federal government agencies, local governments across Ohio, ACORN, teachers’ unions, public universities, corporate welfare and cronyism, and smoking bans.

Mr. Thompson has also authored and advanced voter initiatives to advance health care freedom, repeal the Ohio estate tax, reform public employee pensions, and introduce workplace freedom to Ohio.  All the while, Thompson is the author of Presuming Liberty: Using Ohio’s Constitution to Limit GovernmentDefending Liberty in Ohio: A Roadmap for Protecting Freedom and Limiting Government with the State Constitution, and the forward to Ohio’s Pocket Constitution, along with numerous other publications on law and policy in Ohio.

Mr. Thompson is a regular guest on state and national radio programs, and frequently lectures on natural rights law, constitutionalism, individual rights, education policy, health care policy, and property rights.  Although Mr. Thompson has enjoyed stints in the free-market public policy world with the National Taxpayers Union in Washington D.C. and Sam Adams Foundation in Chicago, he is a native Ohioan.  He grew up on his family’s farm in Northwest Ohio, has run several businesses in Ohio, undertook undergraduate studies in economics and philosophy at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and studied law at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Email Maurice Thompson here.


Christopher P. Finney is a shareholder in the law firm of Finney, Stagnaro, Saba & Patterson Co., L.P.A., where he concentrates in real estate and commercial law. He is co-founder of the Cincinnati-based Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), where he led campaigns against local tax increases.

Mr. Finney has successfully litigated against government abuse and wasteful spending.


David N. Mayer is Professor of Law and History at Capital University, where he teaches courses in American constitutional history, English and American legal history, and intellectual property (copyright and unfair trade practices law), as well as a seminar in Libertarianism and the Law.

Before teaching at Capital, Professor Mayer taught at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law in Chicago, Illinois; held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia; and was an attorney with the firm of Pierson Semmes and Finley in Washington, D.C.

He has written The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994, paperback 1995), The Liberty of Contract (Cato Institute, 2011), and several articles in law reviews, history and political science journals.