Saphire provides a detailed review and critique of the Ohio Supreme Court's interpretive methodology since 1984. This examination, superb in itself, is rendered all the more valuable by Saphire's inclusion of two other discussions - one placing the Ohio experience in a larger historical context, the other probing the legitimacy and limits of New Judicial Federalism. Saphire concludes that the Ohio Supreme Court's commitment to state constitutional independence has been marked by inconsistency and ambivalence. This trend will continue, he suggests, until the court develops and articulates a theory of Ohio constitutional interpretation - something that it has so far completely failed to do. Such a theory would have to provide answers to questions like: When is the text sufficiently ambiguous that a judge may look beyond the words? To what extent may judges consult historical sources, contemporary sources, and policy considerations when construing the text? To what extent and in what ways should they adopt approaches to interpretation that allow for greater or lesser degrees of judicial discretion? In the end, Saphire, like Williams, believes that lawyers and scholars can play a constructive role in suggesting answers to these questions and thereby promoting the independence of the Ohio Constitution.
Richard B. Saphire,
Ohio Constitutional Interpretation,
51 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol51/iss3/8