We like to think that judicial decisions are the result of a thoughtful perusal of case law and precedents.

Stephen Dyer, former legislator and current policy analyst, suggests there may be other issues involved.


“Today, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that White Hat Management — the state’s worst performing large-scale charter school operator — gets to keep all the equipment it uses public money to buy, even if the school was shut down for being one of the state’s worst performing schools.

“White Hat — run by Republican mega donor David Brennan — can sell the equipment how it sees fit, even if it was its own incompetence and failure that led to the school’s closing.

“While this opinion may seem somewhat surprising, what isn’t surprising is that the Supreme Court Justice who wrote the opinion has taken $5,000 in campaign contributions from Brennan and his family. Justice Judith Lanzinger received that money in 2004.

“Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor — whose political career started in Brennan’s Summit County backyard — received money every year she was up for the court in 2002, 2008 and 2010 when she ran for the Chief Justice seat. She has received a total of $11,900. Surprised she signed onto Lanzinger’s opinion?

“Justice Judith French received $7,200 last year when she ran for the high court — as the White Hat lawsuit was pending. Any surprise she voted to uphold White Hat’s right to profit from their failed school management?

“I credit Justice Terrence O’Donnell for recusing himself from the case. He received more money than any other sitting Justice — $15,000.

“Justice Paul Pfeiffer took money from Brennan in the early 1990s, but hasn’t recently and dissented from the Lanzinger opinion.

“The opinions on this case are complex and complicated, with many of the Justices trying to seem like they are with White Hat on some things, but not others. Don’t let them fool you with their strained efforts. On the only thing that mattered — allowing Brennan to profit from his failed operations — they were lock step behind their benefactor.”

The other big charter operator in Ohio, William Lager, received $100 million last year from the state. All of his schools received Fs and Ds. He also gave to the campaigns of Lanzinger, French, O’Connor, and O’Donnell.

Money talks in a loud voice. What about the taxpayers’ dollars? What about the children?

Forget about it. A contract is a contract.