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The Ohio Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a case on if Governor Mike DeWine had the authority to cut off an extra $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits.

Justices dismissed the case as “moot.” Without a court order requiring the federal government to keep these additional unemployment benefits, it was unclear if the money still existed.

“Because the case was ruled moot, the case is over. No lower court awarded relief to the challengers, and now no court can. This is a victory for the state,” Bethany McCorkle, spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said.

When COVID-19 began Congress approved an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits. In December of 2020, the government reduced the amount to $300 weekly.

In June 2021, DeWine halted the extra federal unemployment benefits. Business groups said the weekly payment was making it challenging to recruit employees.

“When this program was put in place, it was a lifeline for many Americans at a time when the only weapon we had in fighting the virus was to slow its spread through social distancing, masking, and sanitization. That is no longer the case,” DeWine said.

Several unemployed workers sued arguing DeWine didn’t have the authority to cut off benefits that the federal government offered to Ohioans through September 6th, 2021.

Judge Michael Holbrook of Franklin County Common Please Court originally ruled that DeWine had the authority to stop the payments. The 10th District Court of Appeals overturned that decision, requesting that Holbrook consider additional factors. However, Holbrook could not proceed as the state had appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

“I so badly want to issue the order but I am bound by the rules and I do not have the authority to do so. It’s with the Supreme Court now,” Holbrook said.

Chief Deputy Solicitor Michal Hendershot noted that due to it being unknown from the Department of Labor if the unemployment benefit money is still there or not. The legal consequences of the 10th District’s ruling are still something that could potentially be reversed.

Former Attorney General Marc Dann, who represented Ohioans suing for benefits, said that they would continue to fight for Ohioans pursuing benefits.

“These are not pawns on a political chessboard. This involved 200,000 people who are struggling every day to solve the kinds of problems that all of us have to solve,” Dann said.

Ending the program early stopped about $900 million in Ohio payments.

– – –

Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Ohio Supreme Court” by Sixflashphoto. CC BY-SA 4.0.



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Tags: attorney general dave yost congress department of labor governor mike dewine ohio supreme court federal unemployment benefits the federal government the ohio supreme court the ohio supreme court have the authority attorney general per week

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Good grief: Justice Samuel Alito blasted for joke about Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in one of the most important cases of the term, a case that will determine if the nation’s highest court will or will not allow a person citing their personal religious beliefs to openly discriminate in the marketplace against same-sex couples.

In likely the most salient and important hypothetical example, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson described in great detail a photographer wanting to re-create scenes from 1940’s Christmases with Santa Clauses and children, in sepia tones, and making them historically accurate.

She asked the attorney representing the right-wing Christian website designer who does not want to have to provide her product to same-sex couples, if under her legal theory the hypothetical photographer would have to create photos of a white Santa with Black children.

Kristen Waggoner, the Alliance Defending Freedom‘s attorney arguing in favor of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, was forced to admit that the photographer would be able to say they would not take photos of Black children with a white Santa.

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Later, Justice Samuel Alito, one of the Court’s most far-right jurists, decided to use Justice Jackson’s hypothetical analogy to make a point, and he did so by mockingly joking about Black children wearing KKK costumes.

“Justice Jackson’s example of that, the Santa in the mall who doesn’t want his picture taken with Black children,” Justice Alito began, getting the basics of the analogy incorrect.

“So if there’s a Black Santa at the other end of the mall, and he doesn’t want to have his picture taken with a child who is dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit, now does that Black Santa have to do that?”

Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson replied, “No, because Klu Klux Klan outfits are not protected characteristics under public accommodation laws.”

READ MORE: ‘Anathema to the Soul of Our Nation’: Trump Pilloried for Demanding ‘Termination’ of the US Constitution

“And presumably,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor interjected, “that would be the same Ku Klux Klan outfit regardless whether if the child was Black or white or any other characteristic.”

That’s when Alito decided to make a “joke,” while thousands of Americans were listening to the Court’s live proceedings.

“You do see a lot of Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits all the time,” he said, presumably sarcastically.

He then laughed, and some viewers in the gallery joined with him.

Many on social media were outraged and offended.

“He is so inappropriate today. And offensive,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, the former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF). “The Black kids in KuKluxKlan outfits? Not funny. Is this the highest Court of the most powerful country in the world? Good grief.”

Minutes later, NYU School of Law Professor of Law Melissa Murray weighed in, saying, “I’m going to need Justice Alito to stop joking about seeing ‘Black children in Ku Klux Klan costumes.'”

“The joke about Black kids in KuKluxKlan outfits?” Ifill also lamented. “No Justice Alito, these ‘jokes’ are so inappropriate, no matter how many in the courtroom chuckle mindlessly.”

Columbia University Professor of Law Katherine Franke tweeted, “Justice Alito is resorting to KKK jokes. Ha ha ha. As if what’s at stake here is funny, and isn’t taking place in a context in which LGBTQ people feel like we have a target on our backs. And, ahem – Klan jokes aren’t funny under any context.”

The Rewire News Group tweeted, in all caps, “I knew Alito wouldn’t be able to resist bringing up the Ku Klux Klan,” and then: “What the hell, Sam.”

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