September 4, 2020
The Most Important Elections You Have Never Heard of and How to Do Something About It!
by Christina Corl, Esq., Plunkett Cooney
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of courts and judges to the everyday lives of Ohioans.
For instance, in August, a judge in Franklin County reversed the order of the City of Columbus that bars and restaurants be required to close at 10 p.m. Only a few days later, a different judge in Franklin County sided with Governor DeWine when the State of Ohio issued the same 10 p.m. closing order to bars and restaurants across the state.
These are but a few recent examples of how the lives of Ohioans are directly impacted by decisions made by elected judges in this state. Despite the direct impact a judge may have when deciding issues relating to divorces, criminal charges and civil matters, few of us pay close attention to the people who are running for judge. Many of us are aware (even though it does not appear on the ballot) of the political affiliations of judges and judge candidates, but that information only tells part of the story. A judge candidate’s education, experience and training all play a crucial part in the suitability of that candidate for elected office.
So, you ask, how do we find out more about our judge candidates here in Ohio? Luckily, the Columbus Bar Association has a group of attorneys from all walks of life who are committed to an honest and unbiased evaluation of candidates running for judge here in Franklin County.
The CBA’s Judiciary Committee meets every year to review information and personally interview candidates for judgeships. The committee has an extensive protocol for evaluating the qualifications of judge candidates and, thereafter, issues evaluations of the candidates who have screened with the committee. The committee considers many factors when evaluating judge candidates such as integrity, professional experience, legal knowledge, legal ability, judicial temperament, diligence, public service and sensitivity to issues of bias. Many members of the voting public do not have the opportunity to evaluate judicial candidates with this level of scrutiny and detail prior to casting their ballot. The CBA publishes the results of the committee’s evaluation of judges and views this as a valuable resource for the public. You can review the committee’s judicial candidate evaluations on the CBA’s website or at www.judgethecandidates.org. Now, get out there and vote!