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​In an article I wrote for the June 2014 issue of The Cleveland Bar Journal, entitled, “A Free Online Guide for Researching the Ohio Constitution”, I discuss why knowledge of the Ohio Constitution is important for Ohio lawyers and law students.   A recent dissent by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul E. Pfeifer drives this point home.  Here is an excerpt from Cleveland v. McCardle, Slip Opinion No. 2014-Ohio-2140:

PFEIFER, J., dissenting.

{¶ 26} After all these years, I remain confused when litigants assert a federal constitutional right in our state court system without also asserting similar rights under our state constitution. As we stated in Arnold v. Cleveland, 67 OhioSt.3d 35, 616 N.E.2d 163 (1993), paragraph one of the syllabus:

The Ohio Constitution is a document of independent force. In the areas of individual rights and civil liberties, the United States Constitution, where applicableto the states, provides​ a floor below which state court decisions may not fall. As long as state courts provide at least as much protection as the United States Supreme Court has provided in its interpretation of the federal Bill of Rights, state courts are unrestricted in according greater civil liberties and protections to individuals and groups.  

We will never know whether the outcome of the case would have been different had McCardle asserted protection under Article I, Section 11 of the Ohio Constitution. 

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