November 2020 could be the start of dramatic change. Of course, we will elect a new and hopefully very different president. However, there will be many more opportunities for change on the ballot besides president. Please start thinking about two: the two seats on the Ohio Supreme Court which will be filled in that election.
Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about our state courts, but they are very important. The state supreme court has tremendous power. It decides issues such as when does the time to file a particular type of lawsuit start to run. It gives the definitive interpretations of the statutes passed by the General Assembly. Very often, the ambiguous language that is necessary to get a bill to get it through the legislature says nothing about how the statute should apply to a given situation. The Ohio Supreme Court decides that. The Supreme Court has the power to invalidate statutes for violating the U.S. Constitution or for violating unique provisions of the Ohio Constitution, such as the single-subject rule. When the Ohio Supreme Court invalidates a statute for violating the Ohio Constitution, not even the U.S. Supreme Court may override that decision.
The Ohio Supreme Court has great power. Due to the initiative which we voters passed into law to limit gerrymandering; the Ohio Supreme Court will have even greater power when the state is redistricted after the 2020 census. The Court is likely to be the final authority on what our Congressional and legislative districts look like for the next decade.
The Ohio Supreme Court has seven members. Right now, five of those are Republicans. Two of those Republican seats are up in the 2020 election. Have no doubt that, if those two Republicans are re-elected, we will continue to have districts drawn to give Republicans many more seats than they receive votes from Ohioans. We will also continue to have a Supreme Court which favors big business and its profit margins over working Ohioans.
At this writing, there are two Democrats who have announced to run for the Supreme Court. They are Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Brunner (the first and only woman to serve as Ohio Secretary of State) and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John P. O’Donnell. Both are very well-qualified judges. Both are the type of people Ohio needs on its highest court.
The election is over a year away. However, we need to make sure that both Judge Brunner and Judge O’Donnell have enough signatures filed in Columbus by December 18 to be on the primary ballot next March. If you want to help circulate petitions or just want to sign one, contact the Party. We also need to talk to our friends and neighbors so that they understand how important the Supreme Court races are and how badly Ohio needs change on its Supreme Court. There is a lot more information which I can give you about these two races. Please contact me if you want to know more.