January 10, 2014
Chief Justice Talks with Business Leaders about Judicial Reform

With a continued focus on judicial election reform, Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor spoke today to the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce.

Chief Justice O’Connor discussed with the group public reaction to her proposal to strengthen judicial elections in Ohio that was introduced in May 2013.

“As you would expect, no consensus has emerged,” O’Connor said. “Consensus will be hard to obtain because these issues are not easy. Only through the participation of as many Ohioans as possible will we arrive at solutions that are appropriate, manageable, and worthwhile.”

Among the topics in the eight-point plan, is Ohio’s long-held tradition of holding partisan primaries and then non-partisan general elections for judges.

“Should party affiliations have any bearing on races for an office that requires absolute impartiality?” she asked the group. “Some scholars and other observers have argued that party affiliation is a valuable cue for voters, particularly in low-information races like judicial races. I would argue that the party label is a miscue and perpetuates the belief that politics matter in how a judge does his or her job.”

Details about the proposal are available on the Ohio Courts 2013 website. Public comment is encouraged.

For a high-resolution, print-quality photo of Chief Justice O'Connor, visit: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/news/images/justices/oconnor_highres.zip.