A classic TV trope is “The One With.” Here is how it is described on one of our favorite websites, tvtropes.org:
When somebody wishes to discuss an episode of a TV program and they can’t remember what it’s called, they will usually describe it as “The one with…” or “the one where…” Sometimes, such a phrase will literally be used as a name for something . . . [For Example] Spoofed on Arrested Development, which has two episodes titled “The One Where Michael Leaves,” where Michael doesn’t actually leave and “The One Where They Build a House,” where they don’t actually build a house.
This is a post where we give major kudos to but David Goodman, director of the Ohio Department of Commerce. The Dispatch this morning reports that Goodman is refusing to sign an agreement transferring Ohio’s liquor operations to JobsOhio.
Goodman’s reason for not signing the Agreement: while Goodman says he supports the policy behind JobsOhio, the questions about whether the statute is unconstitutional are too great to permit him to go forward. His statement in a letter to Mark Kvamme should be included in the curriculum of every social studies class in Ohio: “Though I personally question the validity of these constitutional challenges, I believe my oath of office to uphold the Ohio Constitution precludes me from executing the . . . Agreement.”
In other words, Goodman won’t sign the agreement because he believes JobsOhio is unconstitutional. (Warning: Deep Legal Weeds here. “Questions” about the validity of a statute should not preclude Goodman from signing the agreement, because acts of the legislature are presumed to be constitutional. So he must REALLY believe that that JobsOhio is blatantly unconstitutional.)
Lots of great details of why JobsOhio is unconstitutional has been previously posted by Modern. Those who want the full legal details can read about the ProgressOhio lawsuit – they have been one of the leading voices on this. The simplified argument is that the Ohio Constitution forbids the legislature from creating private companies; yet that is exactly what happened with JobsOhio – with the added insult that JobsOhio is exempted from many of the general laws of the state, including the public records provisions. The Ohio Supreme Court is considering the case – for those who want to quickly get up to speed on the issue, read this Memorandum filed by ProgressOhio.
The cool thing, from a legal standpoint, about Goodman’s actions is that it creates an opportunity for the Ohio Supreme Court to directly address the constitutionality of JobsOhio. JobsOhio officials see this as a chance for the Supreme Court to address lingering legal questions.
Kvamme – a venture capitalist from California with no formal law training – says he is confident that nothing about JobsOhio’s operation is unconstitutional in Ohio. But, obviously, this is a not a consensus view even within the Kasich Administration.
The ProgressOhio lawsuit, which recently received help in the form of an amicus brief from the conservative 1851 Center, is bogged down in procedural issues like standing. But, as the Dispatch article notes, this dispute “will allow the Ohio Supreme Court to review the constitutional questions.”
Remember I: This Ohio Supreme Court has already declared a portion of the JobsOhio bill to be unconstitutional as a violation of separation of powers. ProgressOhio.org v.Kasich, 129 Ohio St.3d 449, 2011-Ohio-4101 (August 19, 2011).
Remember II: Kvamme himself was ineligible to serve as the director of JobsOhio under the Ohio Constitution. And it was Kvamme who proposed may of the initial provisions that had to be removed for being even more blatantly unconstitutional.
Remember III: Goodman’s actions are in stark contrast to other Kasich cabinet members and even the Attorney General. For example, Joseph previously reported on how the Director of Public Safety, Tom Charles, ignored existing law and legal opinions in order to support Kasich’s plans to privatize prisons. To make things worse, Joseph reported that AG DeWine over-ruled the opinions of career attorneys to aid Kasich’s privatization efforts.
So . . . Kudos to David Goodman. We hope his commitment to the Ohio Constitution over politics will be a shining example to other Kasich cabinet members – but we won’t hold our breath.