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Merrill v. State of Ohio Department of Natural Resources

September 14, 2011 – Ohio Supreme Court Protects Property Rights

The court held that the State of Ohio extends to the natural shoreline, which is “the line at which the water usually stands when free from disturbing causes.” The court reiterated its role as a protector of private property rights against state incursions and reminded the state that private property rights are expressly protected in the Ohio Constitution.

October 1, 2010 – The Ohio AG’s Land-Grab on the Lake

The 1851 Center filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Ohio to stop Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray’s redefinition of property rights along Lake Erie.

The AG and several left-wing environmental interest groups now claim that because the State of Ohio owns the waters of Lake Erie, it also owns the beaches of Lake Erie. However, property owners along the lake have deeds that demonstrate their ownership, have paid taxes on the land for years, and were previously told (by the state) that they owned the land. The state is proceeding under the “Public Trust Doctrine,” which says it owns navigable waters and wild animals in Ohio. This is the first time Ohio’s politicians have attempted to extend the doctrine to dry land.

Both state and federal courts have supported the residents’ legal position. However, Attorney General Cordray has appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Ohio, despite being told by lower courts that he lacks standing to pursue the matter, since he has no client in the case.

“Ohioans have a constitutional right to acquire, possess, use and dispose of their private property in a way that does not harm others. Lake Erie property owners have owned this land since Ohio became a state. Only now, with dollar signs in its eyes, does the political class claim that it has always owned the property, and that lakefront owners must actually lease it back from the state,” 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson said in the court filing.


June 3, 2011 – Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio Supreme Court should rule soon on Lake Erie private v. public shoreline battle

September 23, 2010 – Maurice Thompson discusses the case on the Fred LeFebvre Show – WSPD AM 1370

September 20, 2010 1851 Center’s Amicus Brief

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Miller v. ACORN

In October 2008, the 1851 Center sued ACORN regarding its activities in Ohio. The action alleged ACORN engaged in a pattern of corrupt activity that amounted to organized crime due to its perpetual submission of fraudulent voter registrations in Ohio. The Center sought the dissolution of ACORN as a legal entity, the revocation of any licenses in Ohio, and an injunction against fraudulent voter registration and other illegal activities.

March 11, 2010 – ACORN Settles with 1851 Center, Folds Ohio Operation

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law achieved victory in its state RICO action against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN has agreed to settle the case and will cease all Ohio activity as a result. In its settlement with the 1851 Center, ACORN agreed to surrender all of its Ohio business licenses by June 1, 2010. Further, the organization cannot support or enable any individual or organization that seeks to engage in the same type of activity.

March 11, 2010, Associated Press: ACORN Gives Up Ohio Business License

October 27, 2008: Original Complaint

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Drees Company v. Hamilton Township

Ohio Townships do not have the power to levy taxes.  That’s why they call them “fees.” This case argues that “fees” on new homeowners and developers are really taxes and are unconstitutional.


February 14, 2011 – 1851 Center Files Amicus Brief at Ohio Supreme Court

On February 14, 2011, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law filed an amicus brief with the Ohio Supreme Court, on its own behalf and on behalf of the Tax Foundation. The brief argues that Ohio townships, which do not have the power to levy taxes, cannot levy back-door taxes on new homeowners and developers merely by labeling those taxes as “impact fees.”

December 15, 2010 – The Ohio Supreme Court Accepts the Case on Appeal

February 1, 2010 –  1851 Center Files Amicus Brief at Appellate Court

The 1851 Center filed an amicus brief with the Twelfth District Court Appeals, arguing that Ohio townships, which do not have the power to levy taxes, cannot levy back-door taxes on new homeowners and developers merely by labeling those taxes as “impact fees.”


March 3, 2011 – Listen to Maurice Thompson on the Tax Policy Podcast here.


February 14, 2011: 1851 Center’s Amicus Brief (Ohio Supreme Court)

February 1, 2010: 1851 Center’s Amicus Brief (Appellate Court)