Hawke v. Smith

From Ohio History Central

On June 1, 1920, the United States Supreme Court upheld Ohio's ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment over objections that the Ohio Constitution provided for a popular referendum on the issue.

On January 7, 1919, the Ohio legislature voted to approve the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The legislature's action upset many Ohioans, prompting them to call for a referendum to repeal the legislature's approval of the amendment.

Ohio voters successfully overturned the state legislature's approval, but supporters of the Eighteenth Amendment quickly filed a lawsuit, Hawke v. Smith, to declare the referendum illegal. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled against the amendment's supporters, but on appeal, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Ohio voters could not overturn the state legislature's approval of Prohibition by popular referendum.

Hawke v. Smith illustrates the division that existed among Ohioans over Prohibition during the early twentieth century.

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