Unlikely Allies Push Ahead On Legal Challenge Of JobsOhio

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Maurice Thompson from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law (left) and Brian Rothenberg from Progress Ohio take questions at a Monday news conference announcing their organizations are working together to get the Ohio Supreme Court to hear a lawsuit over the constitutionality of JobsOhio.(Photo: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio)
Maurice Thompson from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law (left) and Brian Rothenberg from Progress Ohio take questions at a Monday news conference announcing their organizations are working together to get the Ohio Supreme Court to hear a lawsuit over the constitutionality of JobsOhio.(Photo: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio)

A coalition of progressive groups and a pair of Democratic state representatives are going back to the Ohio Supreme Court over the state’s job creation agency JobsOhio.

But this time they’re getting help from an unlikely ally.

Progress Ohio and Democratic state Sen. Michael Skindell and Rep. Dennis Murray filed lawsuits claiming Gov. John Kasich’s public-private entity JobsOhio was an unconstitutional corporation with minimal transparency.

Two courts threw out their lawsuits, saying they didn’t have standing to sue.

Now they want the Ohio Supreme Court to hear their arguments.

“The public is not permitted to file a lawsuit against something potentially unconstitutional. In my view that leaves our Ohio constitution essentially defenseless,” says Brian Rothenberg with Progress Ohio, which is joining the Democratic lawmakers in their legal challenge.

And they’re getting help from Maurice Thompson at the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a Tea Party-backed offshoot of the conservative think tank the Buckeye Institute.

“These are just judges subjectively imposed their own personal preferences on deciding who can access court and who can’t. And that’s dead wrong,” Thompson says.

Rothenberg and Thompson are also concerned that lack of standing was the same decision given when the lawsuit challenging electronic slot machines at horseracing tracks was thrown out in May.

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