The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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October 10, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear case of Ohio blogger

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from a conservative blogger who claimed the Ohio Elections Commission incorrectly required him to register with the state as a political-action committee.

The justices, without comment, let stand the 2011 ruling by the commission that Ohio law required an organization, such as the blogger’s website, to register as a PAC if its “primary or main purpose” was to support or oppose candidates or political parties.

Edmund Corsi of northeastern Ohio, who wrote under the website Geauga Constitutional Council, insisted that the state law did not cover his website, which cost him about $40 a month to maintain and about $200 a year in other expenses.

Corsi was sharply critical of the chairman of the Geauga County Republican Party, Ed Ryder, who filed a complaint with the elections commission.

Bradley A. Smith, a law professor at Capital University and former commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, helped Corsi file an appeal to the justices, who rejected it on Monday.

In an opinion piece last month in The Wall Street Journal, Smith sarcastically wrote that Corsi launched his “life of political crime” by starting his website.

Smith wrote that “it is inconceivable” that ”America’s founders thought the First Amendment would allow the government to routinely require citizens to report their political activity, and be subjected to such complex regulations. They wanted to prevent government from doing precisely this sort of thing.“

In addition, the justices on Monday upheld a decision by a lower court that concluded the University of Toledo acted legally when it fired in 2008 an African-American administrator for writing an opinion piece that gay rights could not be compared with civil rights.

The justices refused to hear an appeal from Crystal Dixon, whose lawsuit against the university was dismissed last year by a federal judge in Toledo.

Dixon, who had served as associate vice president for human resources at the university, claimed the university had violated the First Amendment to the Constitution.

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