Archive for 'Judges'

Legislating from the bench

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Two months ago, Judge Richard A. Frye of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas issued a decision that made a number of 17-year olds happy and caused him to be accused of “legislating from the bench.”  The decision is remarkable for both reasons.

First, let’s take a look at what was at stake. By statute, Secretary of State Jon Husted is obligated to promulgate instructions for how voting is to be conducted throughout the state. The 2015 Election Official ...

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Do last names matter in judicial elections? You bet they do.

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Last week’s elections give me cause to revisit the matter of whether judges should be elected or appointed by a body that vets them for their qualifications. First, let’s review the comments from the judicial candidates who ran for appellate and trial court positions in Franklin County, Ohio. They were all asked, “Do you support merit selection of state supreme court and state appellate judges and explain why.” With one exception, all were in favor of elections.

I wonder if ...

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They may not know who Joe Biden is, but they can vote for judges

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A week or so ago, I read an op-ed piece about voting by columnist David Harsanyi.  He was writing in response to the current dispute about whether states should make it easier for people to vote. Harsanyi believes that voting should be a difficult task. His point of view is based, at least in part, on how little so many know about our government. He cited a Pew Research Center survey that found that little more than a third of ...

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Chief Justice O’Connor abandons some of her ideas

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The Dispatch reported today that Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor  has abandoned four of her proposals to change judicial elections. The three ideas that remain from the proposals she suggested in early 2013 are: 1) amend the constitution so that judicial elections take place in odd years, so that only judges would be on the ballot, and move judges from the bottom to the top of the ballot; 2) create a voter education website; and 3) increase the ...

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The Ohio State Bar Association should take a lesson from our chief justice

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The Ohio State Bar Association has long supported the idea of merit appointment/retention elections for judges but has done little to actually promote the idea since the failed referendum in 1987. I don’t understand the value in the OSBA voicing support for merit appointment when our association does not actively work to achieve it.

In contrast, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor of the Ohio Supreme Court is aggressively pursuing her idea of changing the format for judicial elections. She proposed her ideas ...

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Electing judges often results in political taint

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Two events in2009 illustrates what happens when money and politics are involved with the selection of judges. The first is a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that mimics John Grisham’s novel, The Appeal, and the other is Gov. Ted Strickland’s appointment of two judges last week.

The reality version of The Appeal concerns Don Blankenship, chief executive officer of A.T. Massey Coal Co., who almost single-handedly changed the composition of the West Virginia Supreme Court by supporting Brent Benjamin against incumbent ...

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There’s a better way to get better judges

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In an op-ed piece published in May, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor concluded that, based on a poll, “there is widespread agreement that we should elect our judges.” Believing it futile to advocate merit appointment but seeing some change as necessary, she has proposed eight changes to the judicial election system. In a piece published on July 13, 2013, attorney Bret A. Adams bitterly criticized judicial elections for producing incompetent judges.

So, what’s really going on?  First, let’s look ...

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