The Buckeye Institute Urges Ohio Supreme Court to Rein in Government Overreach

Nov 30, 2021

Columbus, OH – On Monday, The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief asking the Ohio Supreme Court to hear Twism Enterprises v. State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors and end the practice of judicial deference to government agencies’ interpretation of law.

“Since the beginning of the 20th century, federal courts have increasingly deferred to government agencies and allowed them to interpret the laws and rules that govern their work, effectively making unelected and unaccountable administrative agencies judge, jury, and executioner in questions relating to their statutory authority,” said Jay R. Carson, senior litigator at The Buckeye Institute. “This practice—which has come under increasing judicial scrutiny—is inconsistent with the principle of separation of powers, and this case provides the Ohio Supreme Court with the opportunity to clarify the law and ensure that Ohio’s approach to administrative agency interpretation is consistent with our state and federal constitutions. As Justice John Marshall observed in Marbury v. Madison, legal interpretation is exclusively a job for the courts.”

Twism Enterprises v. State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors was filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation and challenges a lower court ruling that said courts should defer to the board’s interpretation of a law governing engineering certifications. Although the law is silent on whether an engineer must be an employee of a company to receive certification, the board deemed that an engineer must be an employee and refused certification of Twism’s project engineer who was an independent contractor. The court of appeals deferred to the board’s interpretation without conducting its own analysis of what the law required. 

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UPDATE: On February 15, 2022, the Ohio Supreme accepted the case for review. On April 18, 2022, The Buckeye Institute filed a merit brief with the Ohio Supreme Court.