Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Science Behind Juvenile Life without Parole: Why the Supreme Court of Ohio Should Find the Sentence Unconstitutional

Author: Cameron Downer, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

The Supreme Court of Ohio has an opportunity to find juvenile life without parole unconstitutional as cruel and unusual punishment. Eric Long, a juvenile at the time he committed violent crimes, was sentenced to life without parole, the same punishment given to his adult accomplices. At sentencing, the trial court failed to consider the long-standing scientific evidence behind adolescent brain development that supports the conclusion that life without parole for a juvenile violates the Eighth Amendment proportionality requirement.[1] Considering this evidence severely weakens the trial court’s justifications for the sentence, the Supreme Court of Ohio should take this opportunity in reviewing Eric Long’s case to find his sentence unconstitutional.[2]

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Conflict of Laws and Property Rights in the Age of “Semi-Legal” Same-Sex Marriages

Author: Ryan Goellner, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

In the United States federalist system, fifty different states often arrive at fifty different conclusions of law that can conflict not only with each other but also with federal law. The Supremacy Clause usually allows for the resolution of the latter conflicts, whereas conflicts among the laws of different states are less easily resolved.  That is epitomized in the split between states that recognize same-sex marriages and those that do not. Although many have celebrated the recent abrogation of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in United States v. Windsor, the decision does not foreclose further conflicts over the treatment of same-sex marriages, whether between the federal government and the states, or among the states themselves.[1] These conflicts are particularly complex in the context of property rights in same-sex marriages. In light of conflict of law jurisprudence, there is pronounced confusion about how states that do not recognize same-sex marriages may treat those couples in cases of death and the disposition of property.

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Part II: JobsOhio- Why the Ohio Supreme Court Should Not Abandon the Sheward Public-Right Exception

Author: Cameron Downer, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

On November 6, the Supreme Court of Ohio heard oral arguments in the case of ProgressOhio.org, Inc. v. JobsOhio.[1] With this case, the Supreme Court of Ohio has the opportunity to reinforce or abandon the public right exception to standing. Although some people think the public-right exception should be abandoned, the exception acts as a safeguard for Ohioans. Without the public right exception, legislative acts that fundamentally alter the structure of the state government could go unchallenged; such is the case with JobsOhio.

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Part I: JobsOhio- The End of Sheward and the Public-Right Exception to Standing?

Author: Chris Tieke, Contributing Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

ProgressOhio.org, Inc. et al. v. JobsOhio et al.:  Ohio Supreme Court to address the public right exception to standing

On November 6 the Supreme Court of Ohio heard oral arguments in the case of ProgressOhio.org, Inc. v. JobsOhio.[1]  In general, this case is about the extent and scope of the public-right exception to the standing doctrine in the state of Ohio.  The issue in this case is whether ProgressOhio.org, a 501(c)(4) organization, consisting of 350,000 members, and certain members of the Ohio General Assembly have standing to bring a constitutional challenge to the JobsOhio Act.  In particular, ProgressOhio claims that the General Assembly, in passing the JobsOhio Act, created an unconstitutionally chartered corporation (JobsOhio) that will spend government revenues secretly and without any accountability.[2]  In addition, ProgressOhio alleges that the JobsOhio Act itself violates the Ohio Constitution.  This case presents the Ohio Supreme Court with the opportunity to clarify the nature of the public-right exception to standing. 

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Cracking Windsor’s Code: The Unusual Judicial Review Standard of United States v. Windsor and Its Potential Impact on Future Plaintiffs

Author: Colin P. Pool, Publications Editor, University of Cincinnati Law Review

The Supreme Court’s opinion in U.S. v. Windsor, [1] which struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), has been criticized by many for a perceived “lack of clarity,”[2] or a lack of “parameters, . . . objective analysis, [or] guidance as to how to apply [it].”[3] These shortsighted characterizations misread Windsor. In fact, the Court’s analysis is based on long-established, if somewhat antiquated, equal protection jurisprudence: “careful consideration” triggered by the “unusual character” of a statute. With this standard’s reemergence, the possibility arises that future equal protection plaintiffs may be able to take advantage of it.

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