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Rep. Sweeney condemns passage of House Bill 149, a partisan attack on an independent judiciary

Legislation undermines public confidence in an impartial legal system
June 23, 2021
Bride Rose Sweeney News

COLUMBUS — As the Ranking Member of the Government Oversight Committee, State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today spoke in opposition to House Bill 149. The legislation would require some Ohio judicial candidates to run in partisan general elections, cherry-picking certain races while ignoring others.

“House Bill 149 undermines public confidence in an independent judiciary, which is so crucial to our democracy, and it misleads Ohioans by defining judicial candidates primarily by their party affiliation – something that shouldn’t be related to and is even detrimental to the work of a judge,” said Rep. Sweeney. 

“Nobody in the legal community is asking for this bill, and it comes at a time when even more partisanship is the last thing most people want. Let us not hastily change the way we have picked our judges for over 110 years. If we really want to create a new system then let’s work together in bipartisan fashion, or let the voters themselves decide.”

The Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Association for Justice, the Ohio Court of Appeals Judges’ Association, and the Ohio Judicial Conference all are united in their opposition to the bill. 

House Bill 149 would require candidates for Chief Justice, Justice of the Supreme Court, and Court of Appeals Judge to run in partisan judicial elections. No other judicial offices would be covered by the bill.

After its passage via party-line votes in committee and on the House floor, HB 149 now awaits further consideration before the Ohio Senate.