Friday, September 07, 2001

GOP Justices Pfeifer, Douglas change stands

        In the two previous landmark school-funding decisions (1997 and 2000), Republican Justices Paul Pfeifer and Andrew Douglas joined Democratic Justices Alice Robie Resnick and Francis E. Sweeney in declaring the state's funding system unconstitutional because it relied too much on local property taxes.

        In Thursday's decision, Justices Pfeifer and Douglas switched sides and joined Chief Thomas Moyer and Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton to declare the system constitutional when increased spending is allocated.

        The majority justices:

        Thomas J. Moyer, Republican. Chief justice since 1987; eight years as appeals court judge; four years as executive assistant to former Gov. James Rhodes; eight years in private practice.

        Andrew Douglas, Republican. Justice since 1985; 6th District Ohio Court of Appeals, Toledo, 1981-84; Toledo City Council, 1961-1980.

        Paul E. Pfeifer, Republican. Justice since 1993; state senator, 1976-92; assistant Crawford County prosecutor, 1973-76; state representative, 1970-72, assistant Ohio attorney general, 1967-1970.

        Evelyn L. Stratton, Republican. Appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court in March 1996; Franklin County Common Pleas Court, 1989-1996; private practice, 1979-1988.

        The dissenters:

        Alice Robie Resnick, Democrat. In 1988 was second woman elected to the Ohio Supreme Court; 6th District Ohio Court of Appeals, Toledo, 1983-89; Toledo Municipal Court, 1976-1983; assistant Lucas County prosecutor, 1964-1975.

        Deborah L. Cook, Republican. Justice since 1995; 9th District Ohio Court of Appeals, Akron, 1991-94; private practice, 1976-1991. Nominated May 11 to federal appeals court by President Bush.

        Francis E. Sweeney, Democrat. Justice since 1993; 8th District Ohio Court of Appeals, Cleveland, 1988-1993.

Decision could cost state hundreds of millions more
- GOP Justices Pfeifer, Douglas change stands
Ruling falls short, school officials say
Written opinions tell how the court thinks

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