Tuesday, April 15, 2014

COAST goes to Heritage Foundation

Today, COAST went to the Heritage Foundation 
for "moot court" preparations for its 
U.S. Supreme Court oral argument next week 

Today, the Heritage Foundation hosted a "moot court" dry run through for next week's oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Present was our lead counsel, and more than a dozen of the top conservative attorneys in the country, who peppered him with questions.

COAST was represented by Cincinnati attorneys Chris Finney and Curt Hartman at the event.

It is a big week as we build up for next Tuesday's oral argument.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SCOTUS Blog features two DeWine briefs and U.S. Solicitor General's brief

Susan B. Anthony List and COAST v. Ohio Elections Commission continues to generate considerable attention from Supreme Court watchers. 

The widely-read SCOTUS blog today features commentary about the two briefs from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and U.S. Solicitor General's brief.

Read it here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Amici score: 67-0 for the Good Guys!

It is decidedly not the way the United States Supreme Court makes decisions: looking at the number of amici filing briefs on each side of a case.  Indeed, we would want them to decide cases based upon the law, and not on some sort of popularity contest.

Still, the lop-sided nature of the amici score, and the vast array of Amici in support of COAST's position, in the case of Susan B. Anthony List and COAST v. the Ohio Elections Commission tells you something about the nature of the issues before the Court.

67 Amici have filed 22 briefs in favor of COAST's position before the U.S. Supreme Court.  They include a broad spectrum amici such as the the Ohio Attorney General, the ACLU, the United States of America, and Citizens United, the Republican National Committee, the American Booksellers Association and the Alliance Defense Fund.  (Several commentators have noted that it takes a malevolent complainant [former Congressman Steve Driehaus] and a pernicious statute to unite such a diverse army against the State of Ohio.)

On the other hand, ZERO briefs have been filed in support of the position of the State of Ohio.  Not a single one.

That may tell us a little something about this oppressive regime that exists in Ohio, that no one but the Elections Commission itself thought it was worth defending.

The oral argument is April 22.  Several COASTers are planning a sojourn to D.C. to watch the historic events unfold, the beginning of the restoration of our free speech rights in Ohio.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

SBA List & COAST v. Driehaus - State of Ohio Respondent's Brief

Defending the indefensible free speech chilling political speech regulation, comes now the State of Ohio in its Respondent's Brief before the United States Supreme Court.

We must give them credit, the Ohio Elections Commission is not going down without a fight!

The Legacy of Mark Mallory and Roxanne Qualls: City's bond rating lowered

For eight long years, Cincinnati's media and business leaders watched month after month and year after year as the City made one irresponsible fiscal decision after another, and the City sank into fiscal despair.  And they did nothing.

COAST, along with a few Council members -- Smitherman, Murray, Lippert, and eventually Bortz and Berding -- rang the alarm bells.  But Mayor Mark Mallory insisted on driving the train of municipal finances into a brick wall.

As sure as a housing crisis cooked up by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, the chickens have come home to roost: yesterday Cincinnati's bond rating was again lowered.

Mayor Cranley has it right.  Of the twin effects of higher interest rates and loss of Cincinnati's reputation of being fiscally responsible, the latter is the far greater loss.

Of course, the new Council, drunk with their new power, went on a spending spree from Day #1 with the Cincinnati Streetcar and its annual $5-$10 million in operating expenses.  So Mayor Cranley has to do battle daily with a cabal bent on the same destructive policies that brought us to this place.

Read it in the Enquirer here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Eastside Candidates Night - Thursday Night at Clark Montessori School

COAST's case at the US Supreme Court makes today's New York Times

Adam Liptak of the New York Times, who last year covered Mark Miller's "Tweets" free speech case, today covers the COAST/Susan B. Anthony List case heard by the US Supreme Court on April 22.

It is a well-written piece that covers the highlights.  He is skeptical that the Cato Institute's brief humor will have the desired effect.

Read it here.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Financial Times has an interesting analysis of the resurgent GOP

The Financial Times has an interesting article on the resurgent GOP, a GOP whose death has been repeatedly predicted.

Here's a good excerpt:

Yet there is something deep within America’s political DNA that recycles first-generation social democrats into second-generation conservatives. For most of the 20th century, Catholic Italians and Irish were a reliable Democratic voting block. Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan changed that partly by using dog whistles to play on their racial fears and partly by appealing to their upwardly mobile aspirations.

Read the entire article here.

Amicus of the Day - Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

The leading organization aimed toward protecting the individual rights of students and educators filed a blistering amicus brief, calling for the Supreme Court to unlock the courthouse door and allow SBA List and COAST to challenge the Constitutionality of Ohio's Free Speech chilling and Free Thought killing law.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) rightly points out that speech chilling laws like Ohio's political speech regulation must be subject to pre-enforcement challenge lest those who seek to silence political critics will be emboldened.

COAST is humbled by the depth and breadth of legal thought that our case is attracting from FIRE and all of the Amici; and we are ever strengthened for the fight not only for our own rights, but to help insure that all Americans - no matter what their politics - are free to express themselves to the Constitutions fullest extent.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cleveland Plain Dealer blasts South Euclid and its Law Director

There seems to be a symbiosis many times between Big Media and Big Government, where the arrogance of the latter is presumed, and promoted, by the former.

However, that is not so in the case of this fantastic editorial from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the uber-thuggish Law Director of the City of South Euclid, Mike Lograsso, and his enablers, the elected officials in that burb.  He actually called local citizen activists: "lowdown scumbag piece of garbage" in a public meeting, apparently failing to take to heart the term "public servant."

Read it here.  It is a thing of beauty.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Outlook for Ohio Sunshine Week: Cloudy with a chance of showers

This week has been declared "Sunshine Week" in Ohio, dedicated to highlighting Ohio's Sunshine Laws and the performance of public officials and courts under them.

First, the positive:

  • COAST has had dramatic success in southwest Ohio in enforcing Ohio's public records laws, training public officials to promptly and properly respond to records requests.  It used public records requests in 2013 to shine a spotlight on the disastrous Parking Plot, and the Streetcar debacle.  From the aggressive use of the public records statute, through requests and litigation, we have forced a much greater degree of governmental accountability than ever before.
  • As was reported here, we also have had success under the Ohio Open Meetings laws, forcing Clearcreek's Trustees to end a practice of 26 years of illegal pre-meeting meetings, where everything was discussed, deliberated and decided behind closed doors.
  Now, the negative,

  • Courts throughout Ohio and now the Ohio Supreme Court in its South Euclid decisions have shown overt hostility to Oho's Public Records law, and in the most recent two decisions effectively repealed it.  They did so by ruling that as long as the public agency produces the records before a final judgment is rendered (even if after years of litigation), the case is "mooted" and no attorneys fees or costs are awarded.  The net effect of these decisions is that no attorney would ever accept a public records case, and thus the statute has been gutted.  Worse, the decision is cut from whole cloth, and entirely unsupportable by the language of the statute -- in other words, the Court re-wrote the law to suit its whims.
So, there is not so much Sunshine in Ohio this Sunshine Week.  The forecast for open government is cloudy at best.

American Civil Liberties Union Amicus Brief in Support of COAST and SBA List

Wednesday, March 12, 2014