This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund

Smart Voter
Ohio State Government November 2, 2010 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Chief Justice; Ohio State Supreme Court

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Judicial independence, Recusing, Justice obstacles

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. How do you define "judicial independence", and how important is it to our judicial system? What measures ensure an independent judiciary?

Answer from Maureen O'Connor:

Judicial independence is essential to our legal system and is its very foundation. It is being faithful to the ‗rule of law` without respect to persons, politics, or special interest groups. Only the public can ensure independence of the judiciary in an elected system by voting based on knowledge about the candidate, qualifications and record. Groups like the LWV play a crucial role in educating the voters with impartial material. The candidates` websites are also information rich sources.

Answer from Eric Brown:

The General Assembly writes Ohio`s laws and the Governor administers them, however the Supreme Court decides their meaning and how they will be applied to real-world situations. Courts have responsibility to review laws to ensure they comport with the Ohio and United States Constitutions. This power of judicial review gives meaning to our system of checks and balances. Generally, the meaning of laws is unambiguous, but sometimes, given a particular set of facts, the meaning is not clear and must be discerned by various well-established rules of construction. In these cases, courts must provide an interpretation that makes sense, providing appropriate deference to the role of lawmakers and with an eye to providing justice. Courts must be and remain independent of the other branches of government, working cooperatively on administrative and fiscal matters, while vigilantly protecting judicial independence with respect to deciding cases.

? 2. Would you recuse yourself if a party before you had made a significant judicial campaign expenditure toward your election? Please explain.

Answer from Maureen O'Connor:

As long as the contribution is under the limits set by rule there is a presumption that there exists no conflict of interest. Because judicial candidates disclose all contributions on a regular basis, by law, by reporting to the Sec. of State there are no hidden contributions and all is available for public scrutiny. I recuse from cases in which I have a conflict by virtue of my previous positions or any other reason.

Answer from Eric Brown:

Disqualification of a judge is governed by the Code of Judicial Conduct, particularly Rule 2.11, by common sense, and by the imperative of providing fair and impartial justice. Comments to the rule specifically provide that public support or campaign contributions within the limits allowed by the rules do not disqualify a judge. Because the code substantially limits the amount of campaign contributions, it is unlikely that a judicial candidate in Ohio will ever be disqualified for reasons of due process, as in Caperton. However unlikely, the issue could arise in connection with independent expenditures, and if so, disclosure and due process analysis would guide my decision. Importantly, the rules provide for disclosure of information that might lead a judge to disqualify, and for reasons other than personal bias or prejudice, parties may independently waive disqualification. In close cases, I disclose information to best ensure fairness.

? 3. What do you perceive to be the greatest obstacle to justice in Ohio?

Answer from Eric Brown:

Courts (and government) serve by consent of the people, which means that to provide justice, courts and judges must have the trust and confidence of the people they serve. Throughout my judicial career, I have worked to ensure that all persons who come to court are treated with respect and courtesy, that all persons have their matters considered fairly and impartially, and that every person leaves the court knowing that they have been heard. Achieving these goals also requires a commitment to diversity and equality, and I am determined to see the Ohio judicial system significantly improve. Throughout my career, I have been motivated primarily by public and community service, and by helping others. I believe that judges and lawyers should be engaged in their communities

Answer from Maureen O'Connor:

I believe that there needs to be a method to bolster the confidence in the legal system among many of our citizens. It has nothing to do with politics or geography and has everything to do with the socio-economic factors. Education, involvement and participation are ways to dispel false impressions of the judiciary and ways to encourage more people to become involved not only in the legal system but in government as a whole. There is room for all to participate. Being an educated voter about all races, not just the partisan or top of the ticket races, ensures that the rule of law guides our courts. Judges on all levels should be engaged in 22 appropriate forums to let people know about the job of a judge. Without that ―T.V. Judges‖ will continue to create a false image of our justice system.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. Word limits apply for each question. Direct references to opponents are not permitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

This Contest || Home (Ballot Lookup) || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: January 6, 2011 15:02 PST
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.