COLUMBUS — The Ohio State Bar Association Commission on Judicial Candidates has rated Justice Judith L. French and Judge John P. O’Donnell as the top candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court.
The 24-member, bipartisan panel chaired by OSBA Past-President Martin E. Mohler scored each candidate according to their legal knowledge and ability, professional competence, judicial temperament, integrity and diligence, personal responsibility, as well as their public and community service.
Justice Judith L. French was rated Highly Recommended, with a score of 27. Her opponent, Judge Jennifer Brunner, was rated Recommended, with a score of 20.
Judge John P. O’Donnell was rated Recommended, with a score of 24. His opponent, Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, was rated Recommended, with a score of 23.
Each candidate was scored on an individual basis, without regard to whom they were facing on the November ballot.
Out of 30 possible points, candidates receiving a total composite score of 25 or higher, based upon their average scores in each category, earned a rating of “Highly Recommended.” A score between 19 and 24 would garner a rating of “Recommended.” And those earning 18 or less, would be deemed “Qualified by Statute.”
Scores were based on an independent evaluation of the candidates by the Commission, including a written questionnaire and resume, as well as a review of each candidates’ decisions, writings, publications, letters of reference, docket reports, financial disclosure statements and other public records. Lawyers, judges and other citizens familiar with each candidate’s reputation, past performance and qualifications were consulted as part of the vetting. And finally, each candidate was interviewed individually by the Commission.
“Judges make decisions that affect the everyday lives of Ohioans and voters should have access to facts that will allow them to make an informed decision at the polls come November,” Chairman Mohler said.
The Commission is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, and none may have connections with the campaigns of the judges being evaluated. Current members of the Board of Governors are not eligible to serve.
Standards Applied by the Commission on Judicial Candidates in arriving at the composite scores:
Legal Knowledge and Ability (Scale: 1-5)
A candidate should possess a high degree of knowledge of established legal principles and procedures and have a high degree of ability to interpret and apply them to specific factual situations.
Professional Competence (Scale: 1-5)
Professional competence includes intellectual capacity, professional and personal judgement, writing and analytical ability, knowledge of the law and breadth of professional experience, including courtroom and trial experience. Candidates for appellate judgeships should further demonstrate scholarly writing and academic talent, and the ability to write to develop a coherent body of law.
Judicial Temperament (Scale: 1-5)
A candidate should possess a judicial temperament, which includes common sense, compassion, decisiveness, firmness, humility, open-mindedness, patience, tact and understanding.
Integrity and Diligence (Scale: 1-5)
The candidate should be of high moral character and enjoy a general reputation in the community for honesty and industry.
Personal Responsibility (Scale: 1-5)
A candidate should be responsible in his or her personal life, including being financially responsible, abiding by the laws of this state and this country, and being committed to the fulfillment of tasks and duties in past positions.
Public and Community Service (Scale: 1-5)
Consideration should be given to a candidate’s previous service, including professional activities, public service and civic and community activities.