YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a group’s challenge to Gov. Mike DeWine’s “Vax-a-Million” lottery and his pandemic orders.
The court found that the organization, “Ohio Stands Up!,” failed to meet the requirements to sue in the Supreme Court.
In a 2021 statement, “Ohio Stands Up!” stated it is a non-profit 501(C)(4) social welfare group, and described itself as a “community-based legal advocacy organization comprised of Godfearing, patriotic volunteers from across Ohio.”
The organization first challenged the giveaway program in May, saying it was unconstitutional because the giveaway of cash prizes and college scholarships came from public treasury funds without the General Assembly’s authorization. Those who received the COVID-19 vaccine were eligible for the drawing.
The group argued that the program was discriminatory because only those who were willing to “assume the risk” of the vaccine were eligible to win, and the governor violated several laws, including “the Nuremburg Code” by encouraging Ohio children to undergo “harmful genetic experimentation.”
The Supreme Court ruled that the organization failed to prove how the state’s $1 million giveaways harmed any of its members.
The group’s claim of “taxpayer standing” was denied because the organization had to prove it had some “special interest in the public funds at issue.” Because Ohio Stands Up! objected to the use of general state funds, it did not assert a special interest in the funds, the court’s opinion stated.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Patrick F. Fischer, Michael P. Donnelly, Melody J. Stewart, and Jennifer Brunner joined the opinion. Justice R. Patrick DeWine did not participate in the case.
Justice Sharon L. Kennedy stated that the case “raises weighty constitutional issues that demand resolutions,” but that the Supreme Court was the wrong forum in which to assert them. She said the relief that “Ohio Stands Up!” seeks as well as an injunction against the DeWine administration can be sought from a common pleas court.