OTTAWA — Associate Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy, speaking Tuesday to Putnam County business leaders during an Ottawa Chamber of Commerce luncheon, said consistency from the state’s highest court is crucial to a thriving economy.
Kennedy was one of two GOP members of Ohio’s highest court — both of whom are seeking re-election in November — to speak to party faithful and other interested citizens in Putnam County Tuesday.
She was joined by Associate Justice Judi French for an evening public event hosted by the Putnam County Republican Women’s Club.
Kennedy is opposed on the November ballot in the nonpartisan election by Democrat John O’Donnell while French will square off in her Nov. 3 re-election bid against Democrat Jennifer Brunner.
Speaking to local business leaders, Kennedy touched on familiar, conservative themes such as smaller government and the need to keep regulations governing business and industry in check.
More importantly, the justice said, business owners must be able to develop confidence in a “stable and reliable judiciary “that is consistent in its interpretation of the state constitution.”
“For business leaders, the rule of law brings that reliability and stability,” Kennedy said. “The rule of law does have a significant impact on whether the economy will grow. My obligation to you is not to allow my personal feelings to affect my decisions.”
Kennedy believes she had met that threshold during her time on the bench.
“I consider myself a conservative woman. As someone with 34 years of diverse service in the justice system, I believe that I have adhered to the philosophy of judicial restraint and that I have upheld the constitutions of the United States and the state of Ohio.”
Putnam County Republican Party Chairman Tony Schroeder said Kennedy has gained endorsements from the state chamber of commerce and state Right to Life organization as well as various gun lobbies.
The Republican from Hamilton was elected to the Supreme Court of Ohio on Nov. 6, 2012, to fill an unexpired term. She was re-elected in 2014 to a full six-year term on the court, garnering 73% of the vote.
Prior to her term on the Ohio Supreme Court, Kennedy served in the domestic relations court of Butler County Court of Common Pleas. From 2005-2012 she served as the administrative judge of that division.
She began her career in the justice system as a police officer at the Hamilton Police Department.
Kennedy was the target of criticism some three years ago after speaking at a fundraiser for Greater Toledo Right to Life as the state’s high court prepared to hear a case that could close Toledo’s last abortion clinic. She refused requests to recuse herself from the case and Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor at the time said she saw no conflict of interest in Kennedy’s speech to the anti-abortion crowd.
“I know I didn’t violate any ethics rules,” Kennedy said Tuesday.