United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
Joseph J. Platt, et al ., Plaintiffs,
Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Ohio Supreme Court, et al ., Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
Michael R. Barrett United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court upon Defendants Maureen
O'Connor, Richard Dove and Scott Drexel's Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Doc. 74). Plaintiffs have filed a Response
in Opposition (Doc. 76) and Defendants filed a Reply (Doc.
challenge the constitutionality of provisions of the Ohio
Code of Judicial Conduct which prohibits judicial candidates
from making public political party speeches and endorsements
of another candidate, Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct
4.1(A)(2)-(3); places restrictions on direct, personal
monetary solicitation of campaign contributions by judicial
candidates, Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct 4.4(A); and limits
the window within which donations can be made to a judicial
campaign, Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct 4.4(E)-(G).
Plaintiffs claim these provisions violate the First and
Fourteenth Amendment rights of non-incumbent judicial
candidates and their campaign committees. Plaintiffs are
Joseph Platt, who wishes to run for judicial office, Platt
for Judge Campaign Committee, which is Platt's judicial
campaign committee, and Mark Miller, who is treasurer for the
for Plaintiffs brought a similar challenge on behalf of
incumbent judicial candidates to two of the same provisions
of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct. O'Toole v.
O'Connor, No. 2:15-CV-1446 (S.D. Ohio) (Graham, J.).
Both sets of plaintiffs moved for injunctive relief, which
this Court denied in both instances. On appeal, the Sixth
Circuit affirmed the decisions in both cases. Platt v.
Bd. of Comm'rs on Grievances & Discipline of Ohio
Supreme Court, 769 F.3d 447 (6th Cir. 2014);
O'Toole v. O'Connor, 802 F.3d 783 (6th Cir.
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment
is proper “if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” The moving party has the
burden of showing an absence of evidence to support the
non-moving party's case. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). Once the moving party
has met its burden of production, the non-moving party cannot
rest on his pleadings, but must present significant probative
evidence in support of his complaint to defeat the motion for
summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).
of the appeal in this case, the Sixth Circuit observed:
On August 8, 2014, we heard oral arguments. Until then, all
involved assumed that Platt fell within Ohio's Judicial
Code because Rule 4.6(F) defines “judicial
candidate” as “a person who has . . . declared or
filed as a candidate for judicial office with the election
authority, ” and Platt had filed his initial form.
See Appellant Br. 4; Appellees' Br. 11-12. But
during the argument, Platt admitted that he failed to file
the required petitions to appear on the ballot in 2014. He
also apparently missed the deadline to declare his intent to
run as a write-in candidate-his last chance for eligibility
in 2014-which expired seventy-two days before the general
election (August 25, 2014). See OHIO REV. CODE
§ 3513.041. So despite Platt's still-existing
Campaign Committee and his alleged desire to run for judicial
office in the future, Platt will not in fact be a candidate
in the 2014 election.
Platt v. Bd. of Comm'rs on Grievances &
Discipline of Ohio Supreme Court, 769 F.3d 447, 451 (6th
Cir. 2014). There have been no changes in this status since
2014. To date, Platt has not filed the petitions necessary to
appear on a ballot, and missed the 2016 election cycle.
Platt's Campaign Committee still exists, but it is not
clear for what purpose, since it reported no contributions or
expenditures in 2015. (See Doc. 76-1).
III of the Constitution limits the jurisdiction of federal
courts to ‘Cases' and ‘Controversies,
'” and “[t]he doctrine of standing gives
meaning to these constitutional limits by
‘identify[ing] those disputes which are appropriately
resolved through the judicial process.'” Susan
B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, 134 S.Ct. 2334, 2341, 189
L.Ed.2d 246 (2014) (quoting Lujan v. Defenders of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d
351 (1992)). On appeal in this case, the Sixth Circuit
provided the proper framework to analyze the Article III
The standing requirement ensures that the plaintiff has a
personalized injury that the court can directly redress.
See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555,
560-61, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992). And the
ripeness requirement prevents courts from hearing premature
or abstract disagreements. See Abbott Laboratories v.
Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 148-49, 87 S.Ct. 1507, 18 L.Ed.2d
681 (1967); Carey, 614 F.3d at 196-97. These
doctrines “originate from the same Article III
limitation” and may be analyzed together as part of
“standing.” E.g., Susan B. ...