Judicial Branch reviewing unconstitutional laws

Juliana Discher

Chief Justice Parker Graham said the judicial system is implementing a new system this year where bills are reviewed for their constitutionality.

“We have been working with the Attorney General and the Governor’s Cabinet to find bills on the house floor that are in violation of our Constitution in a very flagrant way,” Graham said. “We are bringing those authors in and essentially having a hearing to give them an opportunity to argue if they believe their bills are not in violation. The state will be taking the role of arguing that there is a violation and that it can’t be instated as an actual piece of legislation and the justices will be presiding and ruling on that.”

There were several bills discussed. GH04 aimed to reform firearm laws by limiting guns from usage in the “public space”. The judicials saw this as a violation of the Second Amendment by limiting the right to carry arms.

GS08 required prescription drug companies in the state of Ohio to limit their advertising. The judicial system said this bill violates the First Amendment’s freedom of speech.

GS28 aimed to decrease sex-trafficking by increasing traffic checkpoints to check trucks for sex slaves. The bill writers used the court case New Jersey vs. TLO to defend the right of probable cause for searching. The jurisdiction ruled that it interfered with the Fourth Amendment’s protection of people from search and seizure.

GH42 stated that the father of a child should have the final say in whether a woman has an abortion. The bill writers claimed that they were not contradicting Roe v Wade, but adding on to the ruling. Additionally, they believed that they were not limiting the rights of women, but ensuring that the rights of the father were protected. The judicial system ruled that the bill contradicted Roe v Wade.

The Judicial Branch said they are doing these discussions for several reasons. They want to give legislators a public speaking opportunity and an opportunity to defend their bill. They also want bill writers to consider every component of the bill they write. Finally, they want to reinforce the actual government ruling that the Supreme Court can overrule a bill that contradicts The Constitution.

Meet the Chief Justice, Parker Graham

Juliana Discher

Chief Justice Graham Parker said the judicial branch is introducing new changes this year to make it more tied in with the other branches.

“As Chief Justice, my goal is to oversee the operation of the judicial branch and make sure everyone is on board,” Graham said. “This year we are introducing the constitutionality trials. We meshed the legislative and judicial branch. This garnered more interest for the judicial side too because there was more people who wanted to be involved.”

Chief Justice Parker Graham said he hopes to encourage more people to join the judicial branch in the future.

“There are always less judicial people, but this year since we split the district in half, the other district got more people.” Graham said. “I want to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone because judicial may look intimidating, but it is really fun once you get the hang of it. We would love to have more involved in the judicial system.”

Equal Pay for Women fails in Committee

Juliana Discher

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Representatives Amanda McAfee and Representative Morgan Atkinson of Cincinnati YMCA proposed Legislative Bill #GH 27 for equal pay for women. McAfee said she strongly believes this law should be passed under the Fourteenth Amendment.

“It’s 2017 and equal pay for women should have been done by now, so we need to take action. Men and women should be equal,” McAfee said. “It came pretty easy to write because we both felt very strongly and all the facts are there. The Fourteenth Amendment says everyone should be equal, but I don’t know why women aren’t equal in the workforce yet.”

Atkinson said this bill will try to accomplish legislation that has failed to be enforced. She said women should not have to make $0.78 to a man’s dollar while working.

“People have tried to make this legal, but it has failed to be enforced,” Atkinson said. “Women can do anything they choose to accomplish.”

When this bill was brought up in committee, support was initially high because of the promotion of equality. Katie Bergmann from the Governor’s Cabinet lobbied for its passage. Representatives pointed out that women who perform the same job should receive the same pay.

Governor Ishmael Cody-Harvell was in strong support of the bill because of the enforcement of equality. He stated an amendment should be added that changes the dollar amount to a percentage to ensure fairness when penalizing businesses.

The opposition shifted more against the bill, however, after Representative Abhi Ramesh and Representative Jacob Dumas stated that the Equal Pay Act of 1963 already covered equal pay for women. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a United States labor law amending the Fair Labor Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex. It was signed into law on June 10, 1963, by John F. Kennedy as part of his New Frontier Program.

Representative Ramesh argued the bill was redundant with the Fourteenth Amendment and that no specific punishment for companies was addressed.

An amendment was proposed to make the fines vary for company size, instead of the base $500 proposed by the bill authors. This amendment failed.

After a close vote, the bill did not pass in committee. Governor Ishmael Cody-Harvel said the governor and the cabinet are extremely disheartened.

The governor and the cabinet are extremely disheartened at the failure of GH27,” Cody-Harvel said. “The members of the Ohio YMCA Youth Program pride ourselves as progressive people who strive for complete and total equality. The delegates are encouraged to meditate upon the principles of all things good and fair.”