Rep. Sweeney condemns party-line vote on House Bill 149, a partisan attack on an independent and impartial judiciary
COLUMBUS — As the Ranking Member of the House Government Oversight Committee, State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today condemned the party-line vote to advance House Bill (HB) 149 out of committee. The legislation would require certain Ohio judicial candidates to run in partisan elections, cherry-picking some elections while leaving out others.
“All of us want impartial judges who make decisions based not on any party line but upon the law and the facts of a case. At its core, House Bill 149 undermines public confidence in the independent judiciary that is so crucial to our democracy, and it misleads Ohioans by sending a message that party affiliation has anything to do with the work of a judge,” said Rep. Sweeney.
“Any change to election law should not be undertaken lightly or without broad public support. Nobody is asking for House Bill 149 - not lawyers, judges, nor justices, and certainly not the public - only the Republican supermajority at a time when more polarized politics is the last thing folks want right now.”
HB 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 under the bill.
The Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Association for Justice, the Ohio Court of Appeals Judges’ Association, and former Justice Pfeifer on behalf of the Ohio Judicial Conference are all unified in their opposition to the bill.
HB 149 now awaits consideration on the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives.