Ohio Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit over DeWine’s cutoff of COVID benefits
The Ohio Supreme Court has thrown out a lawsuit challenging Gov. Mike DeWine’s authority to end Ohio’s participation in a federal pandemic unemployment aid program before the government’s 2021 deadline federal to stop payments.
The court’s unanimous decision on Tuesday called the case “arguable” without further explanation.
At issue before the court was a $300 weekly federal payment to Ohioans to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government ended that in September of last year, but DeWine stopped the payments two months earlier, saying the need was over.
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DeWine followed the position of business groups that said the payments were making it difficult to hire employees. More than two dozen other states, all led by Republican governors and legislatures, began blocking payments at the same time.
The court’s ruling is a victory for the state, said Bethany McCorkle, spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
“Since the case was declared moot, the case is over. No lower court granted relief to the challengers, and no court can now,” he said.
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The attorney representing the unemployed Ohioans seeking the benefits disagreed, saying the dismissal did not overturn an earlier appeals court ruling that said DeWine exceeded his authority .
Attorney Marc Dann said he believes the unemployment benefits authorized by Congress are still available and will continue to fight in the state’s lower courts to have the benefits paid.
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Ending the program early stopped about $900 million in payments from Ohio.