6-year-long Resnick case finally ends
Tuesday, December 26,
Columbus - State Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick
was elected to her last six-year term in 2000. Lawyers,
elections officials and others served her six-year term as
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce decided to drop its appeal
last week of a ruling by the Ohio Elections Commission that
its onetime political arm, Citizens for a Strong Ohio,
illegally campaigned against Resnick six years ago.
Citizens for a Strong Ohio called itself an issue advocacy
group, free from elections laws that require political
action committees to fully disclose their activities, such
as disclosing names of contributors and the amount they
give. Yet its TV ads so clearly targeted Resnick that the
elections commission found the group had crossed the line
into partisan politics.
The group's ads targeting Resnick began running in
the early fall of 2000. The ads implied that Resnick was for
One ad featured a lady justice figure lifting her
blindfold as money was placed on one of the scales of
justice. Another portrayed a female judge changing her vote
as bags of money were piled on her desk. The chamber group
claimed Resnick voted 70 percent of the time with
Resnick, a Democrat, had caught the wrath of pro-business
groups for her votes on insurance, workers'
compensation and in other cases. The ads drew the attention
of two nonprofit reform groups: Common Cause and the
Alliance for Democracy.
Both filed complaints against Citizens for a Strong Ohio
before the election, which Resnick won with 57 percent of
The fight dragged out for six years, ending less than two
weeks before the end of Resnick's term on Jan. 1.
Veteran elections lawyer Cliff Arnebeck, who represented the
Alliance for Democracy, said the long battle was worth it.
"We had to fight to get the chamber to adhere to the
same law everybody has to adhere to. It's important
when large entities are held accountable," Arnebeck
William Todd, a longtime lawyer who mostly represents
Republican causes, came on board with Citizens for a Strong
Ohio early in the case. Todd tried to make the case that
advocacy advertising is a form of free speech and
shouldn't be subjected to campaign law.
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