Gerald Phillips v. Loraine Cnty Bd of Electiions, et al
Per Curiam OPINION filed : for these reasons in this opinion and the reasons stated in the district court s opinion, the court AFFIRMS. Alice M. Batchelder, John M. Rogers, and Jeffrey S. Sutton, Circuit Judges.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
Case No. 16-4065
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
GERALD W. PHILLIPS,
LORAIN COUNTY BOARD OF
ELECTIONS, et al.,
Oct 14, 2016
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF
BEFORE: BATCHELDER, ROGERS, and SUTTON, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM. Gerald Phillips sued the Lorain County Board of Elections, the board
members, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine,
alleging that the Board’s decision to keep his name off of the ballot violated his First and
Fourteenth Amendment rights, violated his rights under sections 1, 2, 3, 11, and 16 of article 1 of
the Ohio Constitution, and amounted to “a violation of election laws or and/or abuse of
discretion.” R. 3. He requested both declaratory and injunctive relief of various sorts. The
district court dismissed the case in its entirety, explaining that the Board’s decision and the Ohio
provisions on which it was based were lawful.
After carefully reviewing the record, the applicable law, and the parties’ briefs, we are
convinced that the district court did not err in its conclusions. The district court’s opinion
carefully and correctly sets out the undisputed facts and the law governing the issues raised, and
Case No. 16-4065
Phillips v. Lorain Cty. Bd. of Elections
clearly articulates the reasons underlying its decision. Thus, issuance of a full written opinion by
this court would serve no useful purpose.
Only one issue need be addressed specifically. Phillips argues on appeal that the nonpartisan nature of Ohio’s judicial elections means that “independent candidates [like Phillips]
should be treated the same as non-partisan candidates,” who need only 50 signatures in some
circumstances. App. R. 19 at 39. This argument fails for two reasons. First, regardless of the
standards for non-partisan candidacy, Phillips acknowledges that he chose to petition for
candidacy as an independent. That means he is subject to Ohio’s statutory requirements for
independent candidates, which are constitutional for the reasons explained in the district court’s
opinion. Second, Phillips relies on a 50-signature requirement applicable to some municipal
court judicial elections. See State ex rel. Coughlin v. Summit Cty. Bd. of Elections, 995 N.E.2d
1194 (Ohio 2013); State ex rel. Allen v. Warren Cty. Bd. of Elections, 874 N.E.2d 507 (Ohio
2007); State ex rel. Reese v. Cuyahoga Cty. Bd. of Elections, 873 N.E.2d 1251 (Ohio 2007). But
these municipal court elections are controlled by a statutory scheme separate from the one
applicable to candidates (like Phillips) for the Court of Common Pleas. Candidates for municipal
court judge have a direct path to the general ballot, regardless of party affiliation: all they need
is 50 signatures of electors within the territory of the court. Ohio Rev. Code § 1901.07(B). But
Court of Common Pleas candidates must be either a party nominee or an independent candidate,
and must comply with the applicable provisions.
Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3513.05, 3513.08,
3513.257. Phillips failed to do that.
Accordingly, for these reasons and the reasons stated in the district court’s opinion, we
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