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Ohio Supreme Court Rules Governor Has “Qualified Executive Privilege”

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The Ohio Supreme Court, relying heavily on federal precedent, endorsed the concept of a “qualified executive privilege” for the state’s governor and gave Gov. Bob Taft 15 days to support his decision to withhold office records involving two questionable investments of state funds. Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, who was executive assistant to a previous governor, wrote for the majority: “The people … have a public interest in ensuring that their governor can operate in a frank, open, and candid environment in which information and conflicting ideas, thoughts, and opinions may be vigorously presented.” Justice Paul Pfeifer said in dissent that the majority had “crafted a lingering monument to bad government. For the first time in our history, Ohio governors will be free to operate in the dark.” (4/14/06)