What could bring together the American Civil Liberties Union, the Cincinnati anti-tax group COAST and one-time National Lampoon editor P.J. O’Rourke? How about a four-year-old Cincinnati political brawl turned Supreme Court case that touches on everything from abortion to Obamacare to the First Amendment? At its heart, the case is a constitutional challenge to an Ohio law that bars lying about candidates during an election. In arguments set for next month, the Supreme Court will consider a narrower question, but the legal tussle has already generated some surprising twists and turns. So how many Pinocchios does the Ohio law allow?
For starters, the Ohio Attorney General’s office is weighing in on both sides of the case – filing one brief that favors the plaintiffs and another that supports the defendants. The Obama administration has also entered the fray, and probably not the way one might expect.
Then there’s O’Rourke’s hilarious-yet-serious legal filing to the high court, a 24-page defense of the political lie – filed by a top lawyer at the libertarian Cato Institute – that uses razor-sharp wit to go to bat for the First Amendment.
“The campaign promise (and its subsequent violation), as well as disparaging statements about one’s opponent (whether true, mostly true, mostly not true, or entirely fantastic) are cornerstones of American democracy,” the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro writes in the filing his organization submitted with O’Rourke to the high court.
Full Article: Cincinnati case garners attention before SCOTUS hearing.