LIMA — Judi French is a conservative, and proud of it. As one of six associate justices on the Ohio Supreme Court — four of whom are Republicans — French told party faithful on Friday that it is crucial for the GOP to maintain its current majority on Ohio’s court in the 2020 election.
French’s name will appear on the ballot during the 2020 election cycle, and she took the opportunity to introduce herself to Allen County GOP members during the party’s monthly luncheon.
French was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Ohio Supreme Court in January 2013 and was elected to a full six-year term in 2014. She told fellow Republicans the biggest challenge in her re-election bid is name recognition.
Because judges are elected in non-partisan fashion, “there is no ‘R’ or ‘D’ beside a judge’s names on the ballot,” French said. “But my party label is important. It shows my philosophy on the bench. I am a conservative, and a conservative judge ‘conserves’ her power. She stays in her lane and looks at the law narrowly. And I think you want a conservative judge who doesn’t second-guess what the state legislature does.”
French said 20 years ago the state’s supreme court was dominated by liberals, which translated into activist decisions that set precedents that proved not to be in the best interest of most Ohioans.
“It’s so important that we think about keeping a conservative majority on the Supreme Court,” said French. The GOP holds a current 5-2 edge.
She said voters must become knowledgeable and do their homework when electing judges.
“I have a solid record as a conservative judge, but that doesn’t matter if voters don’t remember my name. I’m not allowed to ask you for money (judges are barred from political campaigning) but ‘friend-raising’ doesn’t cost anything,” French told the party faithful. “You can follow me on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. On Facebook, like my page and share it with friends. That way you can touch voters that I can’t touch.
“Most importantly, I urge people not to sit out this election. I need you to be successful.”
French has previously served as an assistant attorney general, counsel to the governor and a judge on the Tenth District Court of Appeals. In 2015, she was appointed to serve on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee by United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.