Obhof Gives Testimony on Bill Protecting Ohio Laws from Activist Judicial Interpretation
COLUMBUS—Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) provided testimony this week in the Civil Justice Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives on a bill that will promote proper judicial interpretation based on a law's statutory text, not judges' preferred policy outcomes.
Senate Bill 108, which passed unanimously in the Ohio Senate last month, would repeal Section 1.49 of the Ohio Revised Code. That section authorizes courts to rely on factors other than the text when interpreting statutes. This could include courts weighing their own preferred policy outcomes, relying on administrative agencies' interpretations of the statutes, or several other factors. Senate Bill 108 instead encourages Ohio courts to apply the plain meaning of the law.
"It is the responsibility of the legislature to weigh the consequences of a particular statute, and it is the role of the courts to say what the law is, not render judgment on their preferred policy outcomes," said Obhof. "As former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent his career explaining, 'It is the law that governs, not the intent of the lawgiver.'"
President Obhof's full testimony is archived on OhioChannel.org
President Obhof, a graduate of Yale Law School, is a published legal scholar and has taught law school courses on judicial interpretation of statutes. In 2018, he received the Ohio State Bar Association's Lawyer-Legislator Distinguished Service Award.