The lawsuit filed by some Ohio House Republicans and conservative interest groups trying to stop the expansion of Medicaid through the Controlling Board is now available on the Supreme Court’s website.
You can read it here, although we do not recommend it. We don’t recommend it because the complaint is full of what lawyers call “surplusage;” which is a nice term for “it has a lot of unnecessary bullshit.”
The best part is that they didn’t even get the procedure right. This is pretty embarrassing for them. As Marge Simpson says, “Homer! We just got here and already I’m mortified beyond belief by your embarrassing behavior.”
This is something called a mandamus complaint, which is a special type of lawsuit that can be brought in the Supreme Court to challenge a governmental decision. The Supreme Court has special rules for these types of cases. One of the rules requires that the complaint be accompanied by a detailed affidavit. Supreme Court Rule of Practice 12.02(B) provides that the affidavit must “be made on personal knowledge, setting forth facts admissible in evidence, and showing affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to all matters stated in the affidavit.”
Seems pretty clear, right?
But the only affidavit is a two line affidavit from Representative Lynch:
What is wrong with this?
First, this is not the type of detailed affidavit required by the Rules. The affidavit includes no facts at all, much less facts “admissible in evidence.” The affidavit also contains nothing to indicate that Lynch can testify about these matters.
Second, it is likely false. Lynch claims that he has “personal knowledge” of the matters in the complaint. But some of the information in the complaint has nothing to do with him. For example, paragraphs 51-55 of the Complaint discuss details of co-plaintiffs Cleveland Right to Life and Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati., including information about expenditures and policy positions. Unless Lynch sits on the boards of both organizations – and the affidavit doesn’t say that he does – he can’t testify about these things from “personal knowledge.”
We are, as we noted before, unimpressed with this legal theory. We contacted our appellate law expert since this was a case before the Ohio Supreme Court. He expects the Supreme Court to simply dismiss the case, “although they might give the republican house representatives a chance to file briefs first in order to avoid the humiliation of a sua sponte dismissal”.
If you can’t trust Republican legislators to even file a complaint in the Supreme Court correctly, you certainly can’t trust that their arguments are any good.