Legal Center: Shaker Heights Threats to Tax-Increase Opponents Unconstitutional

shtuCleveland, OH – The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today filed suit in federal court on behalf of Shaker Heights residents whom city officials threaten to silence through threat of a frivolous trademark lawsuit. The threat comes in retaliation for the citizens’ opposition of the City of Shaker Heights’ attempt to increase income taxes on residents through an August 7 vote.

The legal action, filed on behalf of the Shaker Heights Taxpayers Union (“SHTU”), includes a demand for an immediate injunction prohibiting city officials from engaging in any further threats, intimidation, or retaliation in response to the taxpayers’ legitimate exercise of their constitutional rights.

Shaker Heights resident Mark Zetzer formed the SHTU to advocate against the City’s placement of a personal income tax increase on the August 7 ballot, arguing that Shaker Heights taxes were already the highest in the state. In addition Mr. Zetzer designed for the group a logo that parodies the City of Shaker Heights logo by replacing the City logo’s leaves with dollar signs, to represent City officials’ use of taxation as a first-resort (see the logo below).

Federal courts have repeatedly confirmed that the First Amendment trumps trademark law in the field of political speech. Nevertheless, just as Mr. Zetzer’s message was beginning to gain traction, the City of Shaker Heights sent Mr. Zetzer a “Demand to Cease and Desist,” threatening that “[f]ailure to stop [use of the SHTU logo] will result in the City taking legal action to protect its trademark, including a request for an award of damages.” In response, SHTU has been forced to stop using the logo in its campaign.

Despite the City’s claims, given the clarity of the law on this issue, the City’s trademark concerns are simply a pretext to silence the SHTU from hindering the City’s efforts to raise taxes on its citizens. The lawsuit seeks to restore the right of taxpayers to engage in these types of debates without fear of officious-sounding but frivolous threats and intimidation from their own government.

“This is an appalling attempt by city officials to silence anyone who stands in the way of their access to more of Shaker Heights residents’ earnings,” said Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center. “These types of case are why we formed the 1851 Center: to prevent city official from bullying those trying to limit government, who they know don’t have the means to fight back on their own.”

Added Thompson, “the City was counting on the reality that an average citizen would not understand the frivolity of its threats, given the complexities of intellectual property law. This case will help ensure that other cities do not use official-appearing legal threats to masquerade their efforts to silence limited-government viewpoints in the heat of a local tax election.”

The logos at issue in this case are below:

L: City of Shaker Heights logo;  R: Shaker Heights Taxpayers Union logo


July 13, 2012: Federal judge to discuss potential court injunction against Shaker Heights by anti-tax increase group

July 13, 2012: Shaker Heights agrees to let Shaker Heights Taxpayers’ Union use city logo in its materials


The 1851 Center’s Complaint can be viewed here.

The 1851 Center’s can be viewed here.

Obamacare: The Way Forward in Ohio


You, like me, were no doubt inundated with punditry on the fallout of the Obamacare ruling last Thursday and Friday.

We didn’t follow suit. I did not found the 1851 Center to gab. We exist to advance liberty and limit government, whether we’re taking the lead, or simply supporting you.

Of course, we’re not enamored with the Chief Justice’s placement of his image, or “the institute of the Court,” above adherence to applicable law. And we do think there’s a lesson for you in that by squandering the opportunity to place a constitutionalist on the Court, George W. Bush handed over the matches that Barack Obama is using to burn down your rights. Meanwhile, we’re not enamored with the prospect that the federal government may force you to buy any commercial product, and impose a tax if you refuse.

But you’ve heard plenty about the decision by now.

So now that the smoke has cleared, let’s get back to business.

First things first: I’ve heard some rumblings from tea party soothsayers to our always-shaky Attorney General that the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment has now lost its meaning.

The Status of Ohio’s Health Care Freedom Amendment (“Issue 3”)

As I’ve said many times in the past, if you supported the Health Care Freedom Amendment on the sole grounds that it would, without more, influence the Supreme Court’s interpretation of federal power, then you were reaching. But you were also partially correct: 5 Justices ruled that the individual mandate was not “proper,” as required by the Necessary and Proper Clause, because it transgresses principles of state sovereignty. To the extent that the Amendment could have influenced the Court’s reasoning, it did its job – – it was Justice Roberts who did not do his.

However, this was, at best, only a minor purpose of the Amendment. As to the others, the Amendment remains fully effective. Let me remind you of those purposes, by quoting from campaign materials that were distributed early in 2011:

Passage of the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment necessarily provides protections that will be effective as against state and local government. This means that Ohio and its local governments would be prohibited from enacting health care and health insurance mandates, a single-payer system, or any regulatory provisions equivalent to health care systems in Massachusetts, Vermont, Canada, or the United Kingdom.

Moreover, even in the face of a valid federal health insurance mandate, Ohio governments would be prohibited from enacting regulations above and beyond the federal baseline.

Finally, the Amendment prohibits Ohio state and local governments from enacting any regulation that has the effect of significantly impeding health care or health care insurance choices, or significantly raising costs of health care or health care insurance.

Passage of the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment has the capacity to protect Ohioans from the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. By placing health care freedom in the Ohio Constitution’s Bill of Rights, the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment creates a fundamental constitutional right that Ohioans can use to defend themselves from invasive health care regulations, including the PPACA.

The Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment could be influenced by outcomes in pending litigation challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act. If the mandate is found to be a valid exercise of the Commerce Clause, Necessary and Proper Clause, or taxing power, litigation will ensue under the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment to determine whether Ohioans have a fundamental right to be free from the strictures of health care mandates. Important protections in the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment, other than those related to the mandating of health insurance are not affected by current PPACA litigation.

As you can see the Amendment leaves us with many tools to preserve health care freedom in Ohio. And the Supreme Court decision actually provides additional tools to limit government. And with your help, we intend to use them.

Here’s the path forward for stopping Obamcare in Ohio:

Step 1: Stop Ohio from Implementing a state-based Obamacare Exchange.

Here’s the bottom line. Obamacare is unsustainable if states force it to operate through federal exchanges, which are considerably “weaker” than state exchanges.

There’s no easy way to put this, but Case Western law professor Jonathan Adler and Cato scholar Michael Cannon do an admirable job:

“The Act’s ’employer mandate’ taxes employers up to $3,000 per employee if they fail to offer required health benefits. But that tax kicks in only if their employees receive tax credits or subsidies to purchase a health plan through a state-run insurance ‘exchange.’ . . . The federal government might create exchanges in states that decline, but it cannot offer credits through its own exchanges. And where there can be no credits, there is nothing to trigger that $3,000 tax.”

This law will collapse without the employer mandate and tax credits, just as it would have without the individual mandate.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal knows this. Just one day after the decision, he reiterated that his state would steer clear of a state exchange: “Here in Louisiana we have not applied for the grants, we have not accepted many of these dollars, we’re not implementing the exchanges,” Jindal said. “We don’t think it makes any sense to implement Obamacare in Louisiana. We’re going to do what we can to fight it.”

Will John Kasich muster this courage? It hasn’t happened yet.

But here’s some good news: we’ve consistently made this argument to the administration since it accepted the federal grant to create a state-run exchange. And the administration hasn’t moved on the issue since.

In fact, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor told reporters Thursday that the state is leaning against developing an Ohio exchange, relying instead on whatever system is implemented by the federal government: “At this point, the governor and I don’t see how it is in the best interest of Ohioans to have a state-run exchange,” Taylor said. “Quite frankly, we don’t even see where the additional money would come from in order for us to run that exchange.”

In addition to inviting Obamacare into Ohioans’ lives, a state-run exchange, the administration acknowledges, would cost about $43 million annually, versus about $1.6 million to plug into the federal exchange.

And guess who would pay for that? You.

Here’s some additional good news. If the Supreme Court’s ruling were to cause the Administration to change course, we have the trump card: the state constitution. We drafted the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment with full knowledge of the need to stop Ohio from implementing a state exchange.

Remember, under the Amendment, no state law can (A) indirectly compel any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system; (B) prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance; or (C) impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance. And no state can implement an Obamacare exchange without doing these exact things.

So if you helped make the Health Care Freedom Amendment happen, you’ve done your job.

But the left is banging the drums of war, with former Governor (and now Obama co-chairman) Ted Strickland and Progress Ohio asserting “It is simply time to enact the law and end the politics,” and “[Taylor] needs to stop talking and go to work and pull together the kind of efforts that’s going to be necessary to get these exchanges up and running.” And some weak-kneed Senate Republicans are already caving as well.

So here’s the next step: Stop the Kasich Administration from rubber-stamping a state-run exchange. That’s a political job – – your job.

And my job is to defeat them in court if you’re unsuccessful.

Either way: there will be no state-run Obamacare exchange in Ohio. And this alone will hasten the Act’s demise.

Read the 1851 Center’s explanation of why a state-run Obamacare exchange is bad policy, and violates the Ohio Constitution, here.

Step 2: Stop Medicaid Expansion in Ohio.

Are you concerned about federal spending? Want to hold on to the money you earn? This is your chance to make a difference.

First, Ohio just argued — AND WON — the right to not be coerced by Obamacare to expand Medicaid coverage at state taxpayer expense. This is the part of the case where the Supreme Court actually ruled in our favor. Why would we argue for this autonomy, only to squander it, in the name of the welfare state?

Second, half of Obamacare’s trillions in new federal spending comes through Medicaid expansion. Refusal to expand Medicaid blocks half of the law’s new entitlement spending.

Yet Kasich administration officials said they do not know if they will expand the Medicaid program yet.

This shouldn’t even be a close call.

Obamacare authorizes states to provide free cradle-to-grave health care, using your wallet, for your neighbor making as much as $30,650 per year (this is above the state’s median salary, by the way).

If Ohio were to go ahead and expand Medicaid, Ohio’s portion of the costs would soon balloon to $675 million per year covering roughly another 700,000 residents each year (perspective: that’s either a 5 percent tax hike or reduction in other services).

Think your taxes are too high now? This is your chance to draw a line in the sand.

Step 3: Mount a rights-based challenge to the mandate.

Amongst all of the hand-wringing over the legal conclusion that the federal government has the power to impose a mandate through the back door, something important has continuously been lost: even if the Government has the power, there may be a constitutionally-protected right to be free from such a mandate.

Just because the taxing power allows for the taxing of flag burning, for instance, doesn’t mean the First Amendment doesn’t protect the right and defeat the otherwise lawful tax.

Courts have yet to address the Right to Privacy: The U.S. Supreme Court has held that medical records are constitutionally-protected from disclosure, yet the requirement to contract for health insurers necessarily compels a citizen to divulge private and personal records, along with blood and urine samples, to a private insurance corporation, or pay a fine.

Courts have yet to address Freedom of Association: The Supreme Court holds that “Freedom of Association. . . plainly presupposes the freedom not to associate,” yet those without insurance are forced to contract with insurance private insurance corporations.

And most importantly, Courts have yet to address the Substantive Due Process implications of the Health Care Freedom Amendment. The Fifth Amendment still protects certain liberty interests. Amongst these is the right to control one’s own body; the right to refuse medical treatment, and the right to direct the upbringing and education of one’s own children. The mandate deprives one who believes in an alternative form of health care from fully directing their own health care decisions: they may have to buy less organic food, get less acupuncture, and forfeit their health club membership in order to afford health insurance. Once we recognize the existence of a budget constraint, we see this loss of direction.

Through placing the Health Care Freedom Amendment in Ohio’s Bill of Rights, we’ve given ourselves the strongest claim in the nation for a fundamental right to be free from a one-size-fits-all individual health insurance mandate. And we intend to use it.

Let me close with this:

I am assuming that you, like me, never want any Ohioan to be led away in handcuffs for refuses to purchase federal-government-defined health insurance.

Moreover, I’m assuming that you’ve already rejected the paternalistic philosophy that leads some in government to believe that they know what you must buy even more than you do. And I’m assuming that you reject the collectivist underpinnings of the notion that you should be forced to purchase, as a taxpayer, the health care of your bad-habited neighbor who makes about the same as you do.

For those of us who so reject paternalism and collectivism, let me ask you this:

Are you just human cattle, being fattened up for the benefits of big government? Are you just plants in a garden, who can’t flourish without the master government gardener? Is the federal government, in the name of “public health,” entitled to a first mortgage over your life?

Or are you born free, with a right to run your own life that no political majority may take away?

You should have the power to make these choices. That’s what it means to be human and adult, much less American.

We’ve all got a lot of work to do. The 1851 Center will support you in this work, and we hope that you’ll support us as well.

In Liberty,

Maurice Thompson
Executive Director
1851 Center for Constitutional Law

Is the Individual Mandate Unprecedented?

Back in March, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray announced that Ohio would not be joining other state lawsuits against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the federal healthcare law) because the suits did not “have any legal merit whatsoever.” He based his decision, in part, on his expansive reading of the Commerce Clause.   [Read more…]

Where is the State of Ohio in the Fight against Obamacare?

According to a March 2010 press release issued by Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, our state will not be joining other state lawsuits against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the official name of the federal health care law) because the suits do not have “any legal merit whatsoever.” [Read more…] v. FEC


On September 1, 2009, the 1851 Center filed an amicus brief defending the First Amendment rights of in its legal battle with the Federal Elections Commission. The FEC viewed the non-profit much like a political action committee or PAC. The 1851 Center’s brief argued is not a political committee that makes contributions to candidates, and its subjection to harsh campaign finance laws are an unconstitutional violation of the freedoms of political speech and association. It emphasized that political speech made by citizens in a grassroots organization is protected by the First Amendment.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the 1851 Center’s position and provided with a significant and precedent-setting victory. The court’s ruling effectively blocks government-set caps on contributions to independent political groups. The decision is being hailed as a major victory for free speech and a significant bolstering of First Amendment rights. Further, the decision was the first major court decision on campaign finance issues since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United ruling.


September 1, 2009: 1851 Center’s Amicus Brief

March 26, 2010: Federal Court’s Decision

Health Care Freedom Amendment


Ohio’s Healthcare Freedom Amendment – Historical Overview     

Twenty-six state legislatures have introduced bills to propose constitutional amendments to block the individual mandates contained in the new federal regulations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Ohio’s filing by the Ohio Liberty Council is the nation’s first citizen-initiated action. 

The Ohio Liberty Council is a statewide coalition of non-partisan grass roots groups in Ohio including Central Ohio 9/12 Project, Cincinnati Tea Party, Young Americans for Liberty, Dayton Tea Party, Ohio Freedom Alliance and many more grass roots organizations. By working together, the member groups of the Ohio Liberty Council seek to achieve real results to protect and promote liberty in Ohio.       

Below is an historical overview of the major actions, spanning from March of 2010 to passage of the amendment in November of 2011.  In addition, media links and court documents are provided.

March 3, 2010: Ohio Liberty Council decides to Force Statewide Vote on Health Care Mandate        

The Ohio Liberty Council, a statewide coalition of over 25 grassroots groups, submitted a proposed state constitutional amendment that will “preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage.” The group filed constitutional amendment summary language and nearly 3,000 signatures from registered voters in 48 counties with the Ohio Secretary of State and Attorney General.        

“The Ohio Liberty Council seeks to preserve the freedom of Ohioans,” said Ohio Liberty Council President Chris Littleton. “This constitutional amendment will do what our leaders in the Statehouse and Congress have failed to do.”       

“The health care reform bill’s requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage essentially asserts that if you are alive, you must buy health insurance that is acceptable to the federal government. However, the mere act of being alive is not commerce that can be regulated by the federal government,” said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. “Accordingly, the legislation is constitutionally tenuous, and will take a backseat to our constitutional amendment, which upon enactment, will be a fundamental right amongst all Ohioans.”       

The amendment provides that:       

  • In Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system;
  • In Ohio, no law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance; and
  • In Ohio, no law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.

 The amendment does not:        

  • Affect laws or rules in effect as of March 19, 2010;
  • Affect which services a health care provider or hospital is required to perform or provide;
  • Affect terms and conditions of government employment; and
  • Affect any laws calculated to deter fraud or punish wrongdoing in the health care industry.

Member groups of the Ohio Liberty Council gathered thousands of signatures in just 48 hours. Over 25 groups covering a majority of Ohio counties participated in the signature gathering effort and will now prepare for the next phase of the project.       

April 9, 2010: Ohio Ballot Board Nixes Citizen’s Initiative
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and the Ohio Ballot Board ruled the proposed constitutional amendment aimed at protecting Ohioans from forthcoming health care regulations should be split into two parts. As a result, the board rejected the proposed amendment and told its sponsor, the Ohio Liberty Council, to start over. 
April 14, 2010: 1851 Center Files Ohio Supreme Court Complaint Against Ballot Board        

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law filed a complaint with the Ohio Supreme Court seeking a remedy for improper actions taken by the Ohio Ballot Board. On Friday, the Ballot Board, chaired by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, rejected a proposed health care freedom constitutional amendment. It ruled the Ohio Liberty Council, the amendment’s sponsor, must resubmit the measure as two separate amendments. The ruling requires the group to rewrite its constitutional amendment, and gather two sets of 402,276 signatures for two separate amendments by June 30.       

In the writ of mandamus filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, the 1851 Center asserts the Ballot Board’s actions are arbitrary and run counter to the board’s own past precedent. The complaint contends the Ohio Liberty Council’s proposed Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment addresses only one subject and should move forward as one constitutional amendment. Further, the Ballot Board’s ruling “effectively eviscerates the Ohio Liberty Council’s objective, and threatens to eviscerate access to the November, 2010 ballot,” the 1851 Center wrote in the complaint.       

“We ask the court to review and correct the Ohio Ballot Board’s improper decision,” said Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center. “Our complaint rightfully attacks the constitutional authority of this unelected body to use its duty power to perform purely administrative tasks to destroy proposed constitutional amendments with which it disagrees. It does not have the constitutional authority to interfere with the Initiative rights articulated in Section 1, Article II of the Ohio Constitution.”       

February 13, 2011: Ohio Supreme Court Orders Ballot Board to Certify Amendment Language       

The Ohio Supreme Court today unanimously ruled Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and the Ohio Ballot Board abused their discretion and violated Ohio law in rejecting ballot language for the proposed Ohio Health Care Freedom Constitutional Amendment. The ruling is a significant victory for constitutional initiative rights, Ohio’s grass-roots liberty movement, and health care freedom in Ohio. The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law argued the case on behalf of amendment sponsors the Ohio Liberty Council.       

The court ordered Brunner and the Ohio Ballot Board to immediately certify the language and allow the petitioners to begin collecting signatures to qualify the issue for the November ballot.       

“Today’s Supreme Court decision upheld the constitutionally-granted rights of citizens to petition their government even when the arbitrary and self-serving decisions of Secretary Brunner and the ballot board attempt to block them,” said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson, who also drafted the amendment. “Secretary Brunner and the ballot board tried to use their purely administrative powers to destroy a citizen-initiated amendment with which they disagreed. Thankfully, the court checked this abuse, and Ohioans will have the opportunity to put the preservation of their health care freedom to a vote.”       

In the decision, the justices wrote, “the ballot board abused its discretion and clearly disregarded R.C. 3505.62.” Further, the court upheld the special protections contained in the Ohio Constitution granting citizens the right to petition government.       

Further, the court wrote, “the ballot board has a clear legal duty to liberally construe the right of initiative, and as long as the citizen-initiated proposed amendment bears some reasonable relationship to a single general object or purpose, the board must certify its approval of the amendment as written without dividing it into multiple petitions.”       

July 6, 2011: Signatures Submitted to Place Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment on November Ballot       

Supporters delivered more than 546,000 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State to place the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment on the November ballot.   The amendment would add a 21st Section to Ohio’s Bill of Rights “to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage.”       

For the amendment to move forward, approximately 386,000 signatures must be declared valid.  Internal due diligence indicates that over 440,000 of the collected signatures (over 85 percent) are valid.  This is believed to be the most signatures collected by a volunteer-only organization in Ohio history for a constitutional amendment.       

August 3, 2011: Ballot Board Approves Ballot Language for Issue 3        

The following language was approved for Issue 3 on the November 2011 ballot:       

Issue 3: Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Preserve the Freedom of Ohioans to Choose Their Health Care and Health Care Coverage       

Proposed by Initiative PetitionTo adopt Section 21 of Article I of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.        

 A majority yes vote is necessary for the amendment to pass.The proposed amendment would provide that:       

  1. In Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system;
  2. In Ohio, no law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance; and
  3. In Ohio, no law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.

The proposed amendment would not:       

  1. Affect laws or rules in effect as of March 19, 2010;
  2. Affect which services a health care provider or hospital is required to perform or provide;
  3. Affect terms and conditions of government employment; and
  4. Affect any laws calculated to deter fraud or punish wrongdoing in the health care industry.

If approved, the amendment will be effective thirty days after election.       

Watch the entire recording of the Ballot Board meeting here       

Download the ballot language here

August 12, 2011: Supreme Court Denies Effort to Take Issue 3 Off Ballot        

The Ohio Supreme Court this morning rejected a challenge to remove Issue 3, the Health Care Freedom Amendment, from the November ballot. The challenge was brought by ProgressOhio, a left-leaning think tank, who moved to invalidate thousands of signatures collected by petition circulators.       

The Court found, as Amendment’s proponents, through the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law had argued, that the challenger’s “legal claim lacks merit,” and “even if his challenge had substantive validity, Rothenberg’s evidence is insufficient to establish that the part-petitions do not have enough signatures.”       

Volunteer backers of the Health Care Freedom Amendment submitted over 546,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office last month. 426,998 signatures were verified, and of those, Progress Ohio attempted to challenge the validity of 62,000.       

The court unanimously ruled the challenge lacked merit and that ProgressOhio’s case did not show the signatures fell short of the 385,245 valid signatures that were required.       

“The Court’s decision is simply another repudiation of Ohio’s advocates of unlimited government, as well as their ongoing effort to use the courts to accomplish that which they fear they cannot accomplish in the light of day, through a free and open election,” said Maurice Thompson, Director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, which defended the proponents.  “Opponents of liberty, no doubt recognizing the importance of squashing a growing grass-roots revival in favor of limited government, decided to bring a case before they knew whether they had a case.  Ultimately, this frivolous politicized approach permeated their legal arguments and evidence.”       

See the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision on this issue here.      

November 8, 2011: Election Day Victory for Issue 3  

March 26, 2012: The 1851 Center Analyzes the Amendment’s effect on implementation of Obamacare in Ohio

Does Ohio’s Health Care Freedom Amendment Prohibit It from Enacting an Obamacare Exchange? explains how the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment, Section 21 of Ohio’s Bill of Rights, forbids Ohio officials from imposing Obamacare health care exchanges on Ohioans. The document also explores reasons that such exchanges are an unwise policy choice






April 14, 2011: Glenn Beck Show

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July 5, 2011: Dayton Business Journal: Ohio Group to Challenge Healthcare Reform Law       

July 6, 2011: Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio Tea Party Groups Seek Ballot Measure       

July 6, 2011: WYTV: Ohioans to Have Say on Healthcare Law       

July 6, 2011: Toledo Blade: Obama Health Care Opponents File Petition       

July 6, 2011: TIME: In Ohio, the Tea Party Rallies Around Opposition to Healthcare Mandate        

July 6, 2011: San Diego Union-Tribune: Ohio Healthcare Law Opponents to File Petitions       

July 7, 2011: Newark Advocate: Locals Join List of Names Filed to Fight Healthcare Law       

July 7, 2011: Dayton Daily News: Ohio at the Center of Debate       

July 7, 2011: Columbus Dispatch: Foes of Federal Insurance Mandate File Petition       

July 8, 2011: National Journal: Ohio Tea Party Group Pushes for Amendment       

July 8, 2011: The Daily Caller: Ohioans Fighting to Kill Obamacare With State Constitution       

August 7, 2011: Cuyahoga Falls News: Ballot Board OK’s Ballot Issues       

November 8, 2011: Cleveland Plain Dealer: Issue 3 Passes     


 April 13, 2010: Application for Writ of Mandamus. Asking the Ohio Supreme Court to compel Sec. Brunner and the Ohio Ballot Board to include the amendment on the next election ballot as written.     

April 20, 2010: Merit Brief. Laying out the argument for why the amendment should be included on the next election ballot.  

April 22, 2010: Motion in Opposition of Extension. Opposing an application by the state for an extension.

April 29, 2010:  Writ of Mandamus from the Ohio Supreme Court, directing Sec. Brunner and the Ohio Ballot Board to certify the amendment.

August 11, 2011: Rejection of Challenge. The Ohio Supreme Court rejected Progress Ohio’s challenge to petition signatures.

Miller v. ACORN

In October 2008, the 1851 Center sued ACORN regarding its activities in Ohio. The action alleged ACORN engaged in a pattern of corrupt activity that amounted to organized crime due to its perpetual submission of fraudulent voter registrations in Ohio. The Center sought the dissolution of ACORN as a legal entity, the revocation of any licenses in Ohio, and an injunction against fraudulent voter registration and other illegal activities.

March 11, 2010 – ACORN Settles with 1851 Center, Folds Ohio Operation

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law achieved victory in its state RICO action against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN has agreed to settle the case and will cease all Ohio activity as a result. In its settlement with the 1851 Center, ACORN agreed to surrender all of its Ohio business licenses by June 1, 2010. Further, the organization cannot support or enable any individual or organization that seeks to engage in the same type of activity.




March 11, 2010, Associated Press: ACORN Gives Up Ohio Business License




October 27, 2008: Original Complaint

Drees Company v. Hamilton Township


Ohio Townships do not have the power to levy taxes.  That’s why they call them “fees.” This case argues that “fees” on new homeowners and developers are really taxes and are unconstitutional.



February 14, 2011 – 1851 Center Files Amicus Brief at Ohio Supreme Court

On February 14, 2011, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law filed an amicus brief with the Ohio Supreme Court, on its own behalf and on behalf of the Tax Foundation. The brief argues that Ohio townships, which do not have the power to levy taxes, cannot levy back-door taxes on new homeowners and developers merely by labeling those taxes as “impact fees.”

December 15, 2010 – The Ohio Supreme Court Accepts the Case on Appeal

February 1, 2010 –  1851 Center Files Amicus Brief at Appellate Court

The 1851 Center filed an amicus brief with the Twelfth District Court Appeals, arguing that Ohio townships, which do not have the power to levy taxes, cannot levy back-door taxes on new homeowners and developers merely by labeling those taxes as “impact fees.”



March 3, 2011 – Listen to Maurice Thompson on the Tax Policy Podcast

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February 14, 2011: 1851 Center’s Amicus Brief (Ohio Supreme Court)

February 1, 2010: 1851 Center’s Amicus Brief (Appellate Court)