Ohio Supreme Court Elections: Does Anyone Care?

by David Herman | October 17th, 2012

When November rolls around in an election year, we Ohioans are accustomed to being the belle of the political ball. We are told that we live in a swing state and that no presidential candidate has a prayer of winning without our stamp of approval.  Our privileged status means that presidential hopefuls campaign frequently in our backyard.  When election night arrives, television stations color our 88 counties red or blue, then follow our every vote down to the minute.  By all accounts, we are an enthusiastic group when it comes to picking presidents.  But how diligent and knowledgeable are we when it comes to selecting justices for our state Supreme Court?

In 2010, a half million more Ohioans voted in the race to elect the Governor than for the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court on the same ballot.  This fact indicates that a large number of us either did not know enough about the judicial candidates to cast an informed vote, or that we just simply didn’t care.  To many, the judicial branch is the forgotten branch of state government.  Many of us have no idea who the justices are or what they do.  If you think this is an overstatement, try to name all of the Ohio Supreme Court justices without reaching for your smart phone.  (Hint: there are seven of them).

We have a civic duty to learn enough about the Supreme Court to cast educated vote in November.  The seven Justices that we select make decisions that affect us all in a very tangible way.  For instance, the Ohio Supreme Court decides cases which shape our family life, education, public safety, health care, employment, housing, voting rights, and basic civil rights.

The most important objective for voters is to elect a balanced Supreme Court.  A balanced court is one whose members have different values, backgrounds, and political viewpoints.  A balanced court engages in healthy debate, often times disagreeing with one another, until a well-reasoned legal opinion is determined.  An unbalanced court tends to veer toward one-sided radicalism.  Unfortunately, Ohio’s current Supreme Court is one of the most unbalanced in the country.  There are currently six Republicans justices and only one Democrat.

We have the ability to balance our Supreme Court by participating in the election process.  The attorneys at Nurenberg Paris encourage everyone to cast an educated vote this November.  Please learn more about the judicial candidates by visiting www.judge4yourself.com.

David A. Herman is an associate at Nurenberg Paris. His practice focuses primarily on automobile accident litigation.