From The Toledo Blade
A challenge to an Ohio law prohibiting knowing or reckless “false statements” in campaigns has put state Attorney General Mike DeWine on both sides of the issue and served as fodder for a political satirist who wonders where the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert would be if ads were scrubbed of political lies.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on April 22 to a decades-old Ohio law that has been used to hold candidates to task for their campaigns’ false statements as well as manipulated by the candidates themselves so they can run their own ads stating that their opponents were caught lying.
Despite a 1995 decision by the Cincinnati-based U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals mostly upholding Ohio’s law, the Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling that even false speech can be constitutionally protected suggests the state law may not survive.
Mr. DeWine’s office, as the lawyer for the Ohio Elections Commission and the other state defendants, is obligated to defend the law, and he insists it “continues zealously” to do so.
But in a separate brief filed with the court, the Republican attorney general said he personally believes the law has a “potentially chilling effect” on free speech and that he has an obligation to speak up even when he thinks his client is wrong.