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Ohio Supreme Court rejects challenge to 'Vax-a-Million' lottery

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Posted at 11:34 AM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 11:34:40-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Thursday, the Ohio Supreme Court shot down a bid from the group Ohio Stands Up! that sought to block the state's "Vax-a-Million" lottery.

The lawsuit

According to Court News Ohio, the court said the group "failed to meet the requirements to sue in the Supreme Court." Additionally, "the organization failed to prove how it or any of its unidentified members were personally harmed by the state’s actions" regarding the vaccine lottery introduced earlier this year by Gov. Mike DeWine, several judges wrote in the opinion. Those judges include Chief Justice Maureen O'Conner, and justices Michael P. Donnely, Patrick F. Fischer, Jennifer Brunner and Melody J. Stewart.

However, Justice Sharon L. Kennedy stated in a concurring opinion that the case "raises weighty constitutional issues that demand resolutions," Court News Ohio reported. That judge wrote that because the case sought a declaratory judgment for violating a constitutional right, it could be handled in the lower common pleas court.

According to Court News Ohio, the group Ohio Stands Up! challenged DeWine's lottery program that offered school scholarships for children and money for adults. The group filed a writ of prohibition in order to shut down the lottery, asking the state not to fund the program.

The group challenged the lottery for two main reasons, according to Court News Ohio. The first was that the money for the program came out of the state's treasury funds without authorization from the General Assembly. The second was that the program itself was "discriminatory because only those who were willing to 'assume the risk' of the vaccine were eligible to win, and the governor violated several laws, including 'the Nuremburg Code' by encouraging Ohio children to undergo 'harmful genetic experimentation.'"

Who are Ohio Stands Up!

According to the Ohio Stands Up! website, the group is an "advocacy organization comprised of God-fearing, patriotic volunteers from Ohio. Founded in April of 2020, Ohio Stands Up! was the first 'stands up' organization of its kind" with a mission to "reclaim and defend Ohioans’ civil liberties through legal, educational, and political action."

Other challenges to Ohio's vaccine rollout

Earlier this year, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, a prominent anti-vaccination advocate who was deemed “unreliable” by a special master in federal court and forbidden from acting as an expert witness in another vaccine case, spoke in front of the Ohio House of Representatives and "unleashed a torrent of inaccurate and bizarre claims about purported dangers of the vaccine," the Ohio Capital Journal reports. She spoke about how the COVID-19 magnetized people, referencing "evidence" of photos shown online of people having silverware stick to their skin.

Tenpenny's actions and testimony put the Ohio House under the national media spotlight and was the subject of ridicule by late-night talk show comedians like Stephen Colbert and John Oliver.

RELATED: Vax-A-Million seen as unorthodox, but legal way to promote vaccines in Ohio

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