Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chris Finney Recaps SBA List & COAST v. Driehaus Supreme Court Oral Argument

COAST Attorney Christopher Finney discussed the Supreme Court oral argument and the twisted saga of the Ohio Elections Commission, with Brian Thomas this morning.

Listen below.

Personal commentary of COAST attorney Chris Finney on the US Supreme Court proceedings

We reprint below today's Facebook entry of COAST attorney Chris Finney on yesterday's US Supreme Court oral argument in Susan B. Anthony List and COAST v. the Ohio Elections Commission.

A lot of things transpired yesterday at the US Supreme Court, all of them really good. I will share a few stories in the entries over the next couple of days.
The history of how we got there was important. For five years I have had a principle I thought important -- stopping the Ohio Elections Commission from implementing a statute in a manner that was absolutely abusive of everything I understood about the First Amendment.
In a case at the beginning of this journey, I watched bureaucrat after bureaucrat empowered by an unconstitutional statute blithely trample the First Amendment rights of those who chose to participate in the great political debates in communities throughout Ohio. 
However, in a series of cases before three different local federal District Court Judges, and all 15 Judges on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, not a single one seemed to appreciate the arguments we made. They either rejected or could not seem to understand the important "chilling" argument about the OEC "false claims" proceedings, and one at a a time in a series of decisions upheld the clearly unconstitutional scheme.
Our legal team lost case after case, four of them in all. Not a single Judge of 18 that looked at the issue agreed with our position. But we persisted in the relatively difficult and expensive task of bringing the case before the United States Supreme Court. They accept less than 1% of all cases brought to them -- this year only about 80 of 10,000 "cert" petitions were granted. 
Finally, yesterday, one by one, each of the nine Justices revealed in their questioning that they each had a fundamental understanding of exactly the issues we had complained of, and they held to account the state bureaucrats who trampled First Amendment rights we fought so hard -- and vainly up until now -- to vindicate. 
In my public interest practice, I have said that there is no moment so satisfying as when I force an out-of-control bureaucrat to stand before a Judge and account for his conduct.
That happened yesterday in the highest court in the land, and it was enormously just to witness. 
Even this Supreme Court case is just another step in a long, but appearing now inexorable, process to have Ohio's False Claims law declared unconstitutional. But seeing that the case will turn out eventually as it should is a great professional milestone.
It is likely that I will never pass this way again. For me, it was absolutely everything it was cracked up to be.

More Supreme Court coverage....

Time
Washington Times
Denver Post
Columbus Dispatch (updated)
Wall Street Journal
Cincinnati Enquirer (updated)





Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Media wrap from today's oral argument at the US Supreme Court

It was a strong showing by Susan B. Anthony List and COAST at the US Supreme Court today.  Here is a summary of the media reports:


And the Washington Post today has a "before the argument" story explaining "Why the Supreme Court's 'right to lie' case is not really about the 'right to lie.'"  Read that important story here.    









SBA List & COAST v. Driehaus Oral Argument Transcript

Monday, April 21, 2014

Columbus Dispatch details criminal conviction for -- engaging in political speech in Ohio!

Everyone assumes it is -- as a practical matter -- beyond the reach of reason that the Ohio Elections Commission and the Courts of Ohio to actually convict and criminally punish someone for engaging in campaign speech in Ohio.  But it is not just theoretical under Ohio's pernicious statute punishing political speech.  It has happened!

Today's Columbus Dispatch details a criminal conviction in Ohio for engaging in an act dangerous to society -- political speech!

Because the State courts and the federal courts -- until now -- refuse to reel in the out-of-control Ohio Elections Commission, tomorrow's Supreme Court oral argument is our first real shot at striking down this unconstitutional enforcement scheme.

Read it here.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

It does not get any better than this

As those who follow COAST have seen, we have used all of the tools available to us that are legal, ethical, moral and possible to achieve our goal of transforming government in southwest Ohio and throughout the State to give more liberty to our citizens, and to reduce the size, reach and scope of government.

Towards that end, we have been aggressive, creative, and innovative.  We have used ballot issues, paid media, earned media, social media, traditional campaign techniques, and law suits.  We have pushed the envelope to transform our community from one bound up by big government, big unions, and big business in an all-too cozy relationship that oppresses the citizenry to one in which entrepreneurism and individual liberty prevails.  It drives the powers-that-be absolutely crazy.  And it has been by well-planned design, not happenstance.

We have killed the jail tax, red light cameras, the Water Works takeover, and the Parking Plot.  We have stopped CPS, Laure Quinlivan and the City of Cincinnati from abusing tax dollars for campaign purposes.  In short, we have upset the delicate balance of power in greater Cincinnati that for decades favored a relentless drive forward for bigger government and higher taxes.  And in response, we have stirred a hornet's nest of opposition and resentment from those who had designs on your wallet.

COAST has rained on the parade of the powers-that-were in Cincinnati.  We have had stunning political wins for a ragtag band of insurgents.  And today, as a result, we influence a broad spectrum of the political landscape in Cincinnati.  It has been a great run.

But all of this pales in contrast to COAST's latest venture -- at trip to the United States Supreme Court to kill Ohio's False Claims Statute and the pernicious (and obnoxious) enforcement of the same by the arrogant Ohio Elections Commission.  Read about it here.

An absolutely out-of-control OEC, immunized from its own outrageous conduct by the Federal District Courts, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, has abused the rights of Ohio citizens engaged in political discourse for more than three decades.  It has been a reign of terror by an out-of-control public body, a modern-day inquisition, a Star Chamber, effectively sanctioned by the very Courts who should have clipped their wings long ago.

Well, their party is about to end, and it's going to take the adults on the United States Supreme Court to do it.  We anticipate a stunning rebuke of the bizarre and abusive practices of the OEC by the nation's highest Court.

Stay tuned Tuesday, and thereafter for the end of the Kafkaesque oppression foisted on the citizens of Ohio.

We confidently predict that it will be COAST's finest hour to date when the decision is issued.




Legal team explains COAST's position on US Supreme Court case in Wall Street Journal

Our legal team before the US Supreme Court is led by two brilliant and seasoned Jones Day attorneys, Mike Carvin and Yaakov Roth.  They wrote in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, explaining as well as we possibly could, our case before the US Supreme Court Tuesday.

What is at stake is not the "right to lie" as our opponents claim, but the question of whether the citizens of will continue to empower a panel of politically-appointed bureaucrats to decide what they think is true and false in election campaigns -- holding over the heads of all Ohioans up to six months in jail if they disagree with what you may have to say.

Read it here.  It is very well said.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

COAST Endorses Dever for Ohio 28

COAST is proud to endorse conservative Jonathan Dever for State Representative in the 28th District GOP Primary.  Dever, a first time candidate, has been a fixture supporting conservative causes and Republican candidates in Hamilton County.

Dever currently owns two small businesses, and his wife owns a 3rd, that employ 15 people.  Jonathan has proven his conservative credentials in not just his words but his actions, and COAST looks forward to him representing SW Ohio in the State House.

Dever looks to defeat tax-and-spend Republican Rick Bryan, a Blue Ash Councilman.  Bryan has an extensive and disturbing record of raising taxes and wasting significant taxpayer funds on large, questionable projects.  For example, Bryan is currently building a comically wasteful $75 million park.  This will cost the equivalent of $6200 per Blue Ash resident - more than the Wall Street Bailouts and Obama Stimulus COMBINED!

Rick Bryan voted for and enthusiastically endorsed a 25% Earnings Tax hike on Blue Ash workers and residents.  He lined up behind David Pepper and Todd Portune to support a massive countywide Sales Tax increase that the voters wisely rejected.  Bryan even said we should have re-elected the incompetent Bob Bedinghaus based on his (disastrous) work on the stadiums.

Shockingly, in 2012 Bryan used his position as a Blue Ash Councilman to help fund the Cincinnati Streetcar.  Bryan happily obeyed former Mayor Mark Mallory's demand to rescind, then redo the 2007 airport land deal between the two cities in a way that allowed Cincinnati to legally spend the proceeds on their streetcar fiasco.  Bryan sold out the people of Blue Ash and Cincinnati to help fund a streetcar that most 28th District residents want no part of.

While many elections come down to the lesser of two evils, we are pleased that this race isn't one of them.  Conservative Jonathan Dever is a significantly better choice than Tax Hikin' Rick Bryan and has earned our support. 
Learn more about Jonathan Dever here

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A media wrap as we pack our bags for D.C.

COASTers are packing their bags for their big trips this weekend to our nation's capital to prepare for their appearance before the nine fine Justices of the United States Supreme Court.  And as we do, we thought, you might want to enjoy the board range of stories from all over America on the hornet's nest we have stirred up once again.

Just click on the links below.

SCOTUS Blog
Cleveland Plain Dealer
MSNBC
Associated Press
Digital Journal
Gnomes National News Service
Roll Call
Reason
Politico
Wall Street Journal





Today's SCOTUS Blog covers COAST's Supreme Court case

There is a blog devoted to extensive coverage of the United States Supreme Court -- the SCOTUS blog.  Its objective, in-depth and scholarly writing draws positive reviews from court watchers.

Today it has an extensive blog post on our case that is being heard next Tuesday before the United States Supreme Court.

You can read it here.

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.