As Ohio policymakers pursue major reforms to the state's criminal justice laws, The Buckeye Institute is making sure the principles of individual liberty and property rights are not just heard but strengthened across our state.
Today, in The Columbus Dispatch, Buckeye's president and CEO explained how civil-asset forfeiture reforms can protect innocent Ohioans while giving law enforcement the resources they need to keep our communities safe:
Ohio law enforcement needs reasonable tools to combat drug traffickers. And Ohioans need greater legal protection to assure that their property will not be forfeited to the state absent a criminal conviction. Happily, both objectives can be achieved through reforming Ohio's civil-asset forfeiture law. ...To read the full op-ed, click here. To learn more about Buckeye's Legal Center, which is tackling this issue and other important policies, click here.
Under Ohio's current law, after property is seized, prosecutors may commence a lawsuit against the property --- you read that correctly, the thing --- not the property owner. And the prosecutor may do so regardless of whether the owner is ever charged with a crime. The owner has no right to legal counsel, and must assert his or her rights in court at his or her own expense in order to get the property back.
As reforms to Ohio's civil-asset forfeiture laws continue to gain momentum, The Buckeye Institute will keep you informed of our work and successes protecting everyday Ohioans' rights.
Buckeye firmly planted to stop presidential power grab
From the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), President Obama has shown a disrespect for the law by circumventing Congress. The Buckeye Institute is standing firm to stop such presidential power grabs.
NLRB not free to decree
Today, Buckeye's Legal Center joined in a legal briefing to the U.S Supreme Court on NLRB v. SW General Inc., in which the Arizona-based company is challenging whether the president can (as he did) ignore the plain language of the law regarding who may serve as the NLRB's "acting" general counsel.
"Government is built on checks and balances to ensure no one branch has too much power," Robert Alt, Buckeye's president and CEO, said. "If the president can ignore any law deemed inconvenient, that sets a dangerous precedent for future presidents to pick and choose what laws to follow."
EPA gets its day (in court)
President Obama's Clean Power Plan has a murky history. Today, arguments for and against the plan received a scrubbing from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In February, Buckeye's Legal Center sued the Obama Administration over the EPA's unconstitutional mandate. The Clean Power Plan not only is an overreach in its attempt to regulate state energy markets, but also does not give states meaningful opportunities to decline its implementation --- a pillar of U.S. federalism. That is why the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay, halting the plan, until its journey throughout the courts is concluded. Although today's case could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court regardless of the outcome, the D.C. Circuit's decision could stand if:
- Buckeye and our co-petitioners are successful and the next president declines to appeal the decision; or
- The decision is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and the late Justice Scalia's seat is still empty, resulting in a 4-4 split decision; or
- The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear an appeal to the case.
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Founded in 1989, The Buckeye Institute is an independent research and educational institution--- a think tank--- whose mission is to advance free-market public policy in the states.