We’re honestly not sure if Attorney General Mike DeWine has a problem understanding the law or if he simply chooses to ignore it in favor of expediency and political and religious fervor.
Either way, it’s scary knowing Ohio’s top attorney is so often wrong when it comes to interpreting the law.
Yesterday we wrote about DeWine’s anti-contraception letter and how the legal foundation for his argument holds little water. This follows on the heals of the contraception-related lawsuit DeWine joined last year which also faces serious constitutional issues.
These are just two in a long line of poorly planned and often totally incorrect legal opinions/analysis coming from DeWine since he became Attorney General…
Last October, as the presidential election drew near, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted attempted to eliminate early voting hours for the three days before the election, a time heavily favored by Democratic and especially African American voters.
Democrats filed a lawsuit to restore the days, claiming the restriction violated the US Constitution. The court agreed with them.
Attorney General Mike DeWine decided to defend the early voting restrictions and to appeal the court’s ruling. In a press conference (captured by Marc Kovac, of course) he confidently defended his reasoning:
“If we thought for a moment that the Ohio legislature had violated the Ohio Constitution or the Federal Constitution or anyone’s right to vote we would not be up here, I would not be up here, telling you we’re going to appeal this… We have no choice but to appeal this.”
DeWine claimed the law didn’t violate the US Constitution. He spent tens of thousands of dollars defending it. Every court agreed: DeWine was wrong.
A similar situation arose when DeWine defended, appealed and lost a right-church-wrong-pew vote counting challenge from the SEIU.
TROOPERS AT PRIVATE PRISONS
Last June, DeWine issued a dangerous ruling claiming Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers could operate inside of the newly-private Lake Erie Correctional Institution. The opinion contradicted an opinion given by two of his own attorneys a day earlier as well as those of at least two other state attorneys.
DeWine’s incorrect opinion was issued to give Governor Kasich cover for failing to consider the issue when he rushed through his plan to sell of the prison. State law eventually had to be changed to allow the troopers to investigate crimes on the prison’s private property.
In January, DeWine gave a press conference about the Steubenville rape investigation. When asked if additional charges would be brought in the case, he told reporters that “observers of a crime aren’t always legally obliged to intervene.”
He made a similar claim to the Marietta Times a few days later saying “people who had knowledge of it – knowledge in and of itself is not a crime under Ohio law.”
In fact, not reporting a felony is a crime under Ohio law. ORC § 2921.22, provides that “no person, knowing that a felony has been or is being committed, shall knowingly fail to report such information to law enforcement authorities.”
DeWine has since changed his story.