You may or may not be aware that, on behalf of two abortion opponents, Curt Hartman (son of a former Clermont County Engineer) has filed an action in the Ohio Supreme Court against the Ohio Ballot Board regarding the Reproductive Rights Amendment. This case claims that the Ballot Board erred in concluding that the Reproductive Rights Amendment proposes only one amendment to the Ohio Constitution. The case asks the Supreme Court to order the Ballot Board to divide the currently proposed amendment into an unspecified number of separate amendments, each of which would be a separate ballot issue and each of which would require the filing of separate petitions with the requisite numbers of signatures to get onto the ballot.
The Ohio Supreme Court issued an order today setting an expedited schedule for proceedings in the case, not unusual in elections cases. Absent some extraordinary development, the parties’ final briefs in the case are due to filed by April 7, 2023, a week from Friday. Predicting when the Court will issue a decision is guesswork, but I expect we may see a decision in early May. Please do not stop gathering signatures for the amendment as it exists now. But, keep an eye out for the Supreme Court’s decision. The case is State ex rel. DeBlase v. Ohio Ballot Bd., No. 2023-0388.
Raymond W. Lembke