The Ohio Elections Commission could ask the full court of appeals to hear the case or appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. But given the justices’ ruling in 2014, there is little chance the state would prevail before the high court.
“I truly do believe this is the last stop in the railroad,” said Christopher Finney, a Cincinnati attorney who challenged the law. “It’s a big, big day for speech.”
Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, said, “We will be considering the options with the client. It is too early to definitively comment on a possible further appeal.”
The case erupted during the 2010 congressional campaign when Susan B. Anthony List wanted to pay for a billboard advertisement accusing then-U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus, D-Cincinnati, of supporting the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions when he voted for the 2010 health-care law, known as Obamacare.
Driehaus’ attorney threatened a lawsuit; the billboard owner refused to post the advertisement. Driehaus filed a complaint with the elections commission, which found probable cause that the advertisement violated the election law.
Driehaus dropped the complaint after he was defeated for re-election by Republican Steve Chabot. However, Susan B. Anthony List and COAST sued in federal court.