FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2020

Ohio Dept. of Health has no Constitutional Authority to Overrule State Legislation Protecting Parents, Children, and Daycares

Mason, OH – The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today filed suit on behalf of 40 daycare centers across Ohio to enjoin the Ohio Department of Health from continuing to enforce its arbitrary limits, as implemented through the Director’s May 29, 2020 Order, on the number of children daycares may supervise.

The May 29 Order severely reduces the number of children each adult staff member may supervise and the number of children who may be in the same room at any one time, even though the statutes governing daycares expressly protect their right to care for larger groups of children:

  • The Director’s Order reduces the number of pre-schoolers a staff member may care for from 14 to nine.
  • The Director’s Order reduces the number of school-aged-children a staff member may care for from 20 to nine.
  • The Director’s Order reduces the number of children who may be within the same room, regardless of the size of the space, from 40 to nine.

However, agency regulations attempting to overrule express legislation on the same subject violate Ohio’s Separation of Powers limits. And in this case the Ohio Revised Code expressly provides that no administrative regulations may conflict with the group sizes the General Assembly has protected.

“The Ohio Constitution protects Ohioans from unelected government administrators attempting to override statutes passed by elected representatives, no matter what the rationale,” explained 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. “These regulations are particularly pernicious because they limit child care options for parents needing to return to work, dramatically raise the costs of these options, and threaten to bankrupt Ohio daycares.”

The case is pending before Judge Timothy Tepe in Warren County, Ohio.

Read the 1851 Center’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction Here.

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The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a nonprofit, nonpartisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and searches and seizures.

Water slide photo.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2020

Another Ohio Court Slams Forced Closures as Unconstitutional

Statute Health Department relies on is unconstitutional and it has no authority to close businesses or create its own penalties

Kalahari wins right to open immediately

Sandusky, OH – An Ohio Court of Common Pleas Wednesday enjoined the Ohio Governor and Director of the Department of Health from “imposing or enforcing penalties solely for non-compliance with the director’s order” against Ohio waterparks.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law’s victory against Ohio’s Governor and Health Department comes on behalf of Kalahari Resorts, who moved to enjoin the Ohio Department of Health from continuing to enforce its criminalization of even safe business operations, as implemented through the Director’s various Orders since March.

The 12 page ruling by Judge Roger Binette of the Erie County Court of Common Pleas, the most forceful repudiation of the Governor’s pandemic Orders to date, explains that private property rights are fundamental rights in Ohio, and that the Ohio Department of Health has both violated those rights and exceeded the Ohio Constitution’s Separation of Powers in shutting down and otherwise penalizing Ohio businesses:

“The statutes granting [the Health Director] the authority, power to enforce, and criminalize also violates the separation of powers that exist in our Constitutional framework to protect our citizens from the consolidation of power in one person.”

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“Moreover, if one unelected, unaccountable to the public, official is allowed to invoke unfettered Orders, which can criminalize an otherwise non-criminal activity only for disobedience to her Orders, then the right to Due Process is extinguished. The authority to issue Orders, create strict liability crimes without legislative or Administrative oversight, and impose criminal sanctions. To restrict the fundamental right of property based on an impermissible classification of ‘identity’ rather than on ‘safety’. To violate the separation of powers by delegating policy making, rather than policy shaping, to an Administrative agency without proper oversight or reservation of authority to override Orders. All these are a concern for this Court in regards to Due Process and Equal Protection rights of the citizens being violated.”

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“Defendants are not harmed by granting the requested injunctive relief. This is because they have been improperly granted the power to create and criminally enforce, with strict liability, laws simply by a decision of an unelected, unaccountable to the general public, administrative officer by virtue of an Order. Application of which is, can and does trample of the fundamental rights of the citizens. Further, in regards to Defendants’ concern of the ‘spreading of the virus’ by allowing Plaintiffs’ business to open prior to June 19th, this Court points to Comm. Schade’s testimony. That 15 of the 19 deaths in Erie Co. were people who would not likely go to Plaintiffs’ businesses; they were in the Ohio Veterans Home.”

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“There appears to be no reason why Plaintiff Kalahari should remain closed at this juncture. The only reason they are is that an unelected official, with unbridled authority – that was given in offense to the separation of powers and used to infringe of Due Process and Equal Protection rights – issued the May 29th Order.”

“Our corrupt and incapable Governor can run from the Ohio Constitution, but he can no longer hide from it. With yet another judicial repudiation of his conduct, there can be no justification for continuing his unconstitutional assault on Ohioans.” explained 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson.

The Court’s Order means that Kalahari can fully re-open immediately.

In other news, the Ohio Attorney General agreed to drop all criminal charges against Vicki Brearley after the 1851 Center filed a Motion to Dismiss in that case.

Read the Court’s full Order Here.

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The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a nonprofit, nonpartisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and searches and seizures.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2020

Cedar Point, Kings Island, Kalahari Sue to Open

Ohio Dept. of Health has no Constitutional Authority to Keep these Businesses Closed

Columbus, OH – The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today filed suit to enjoin the Ohio Department of Health from continuing to enforce its criminalization of Ohio’s amusement and water parks, as implemented through the Director’s May 29, 2020 Order.

The cases are filed on behalf of Ohio’s three largest amusement and water parks: Cedar Point, Kings Island, and Kalahari Resorts.

The May 29 Order singles out amusement and water parks even as nearly all other Ohio businesses are permitted to operate. The Order provides no opening dates for these seasonal businesses that employ thousands and generate the bulk of the economic activity in their respective counties, even though these businesses are safe to operate.

The 1851 Center’s Complaints assert that the Health Director maintains no power to close otherwise lawful Ohio businesses or create her own sanctions to enforce those closures.

Further, the Order permits businesses with similar features, such as pools and large crowds, to open, while singling out amusement and water parks for disfavored treatment. Also, the Governor announced on June 4, 2020 the opening of many like-kind businesses.

“The Ohio Constitution’s protections apply to all, including those businesses that the state’s highest public officials view as non-essential.  The Governor and his Health Director must end their unnecessary and unconstitutional assault on Ohioans’ businesses and traditions,” explained 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. “We and our clients remain committed to ensuring that these arbitrary policies never again recur.”

The cases are pending in the Erie County Courts of Common Pleas before Judge Binette, and the Warren County Court of Common Pleas, before Judge Oda.

Read the 1851 Center’s Complaints Here and Here.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a non-profit, non-partisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and search and seizures.