What You Need To Know About The Ohio Supreme Court

2022 Ohio Supreme Court Elections

Partisan control of the Ohio Supreme Court will be determined in 3 elections on the November 8 ballot. Republicans currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor (R) is retiring and 2 current justices – Jennifer Brunner (D) and Sharon Kennedy (R) – will face off to replace her. Justice DeWine (R) and Justice Fischer (R) are up for re-election, presenting the chance to flip the court. Terri Jamison (D) is running against Fischer and Judge Marilyn Zayas (D) is challenging DeWine.

Even if Brunner (D) wins her race for Chief Justice, Gov. DeWine (R) will have the ability to nominate her association justice position. Therefore, Democrats must win at least 2 races to take the majority.

The Republican-controlled Ohio legislature made the 2022 OH supreme court elections explicitly partisan for the first time in more than 100 years. Conservative-aligned special interest groups quickly endorsed the Republican candidates without even interviewing the Democratic-aligned justices. Ohioans for a Healthy Economy – a conglomerate of multiple pro-business conservative groups – have already pledged an expensive campaign supporting the Republican candidates.

Key Issues

Abortion: 53% of likely voters in OH want to protect abortion rights in the state. Yet, OH outlawed abortion after just 6 weeks, due to a trigger law that went into effect following Dobbs. Abortion providers immediately asked the Ohio Supreme Court for emergency relief against the law but were denied. The court still holds the power to interpret its own constitution to protect abortion access, especially since there are broader levels of personal freedoms defined within the Ohio constitution.

Democracy and Voting Rights: The court has been essential in protecting the franchise. Just this year, the court blocked Republican’s unconstitutionally gerrymandered maps 3 times when Chief Justice O’Connor, who is retiring, sided with the 3 democrats. That led Republicans to call for her impeachment. It is clear that Republican legislators in OH expect that a Republican-majority court will greenlight their antidemocratic laws. With key elections on the horizon, it’s critical that the court has justices who will not.

Meet the Candidates

Photo Left to Right: Judge Terri Jamison, Judge Marilyn Zayas, Justice Jennifer Brunner

1. Justice Jennifer Brunner (D) has served on the Ohio Supreme Court since 2020. She served as a lower court judge for 11 years before that. She was elected Ohio’s first female Secretary of State in 2006 and held the office for 4 years. She worked in private practice for 17 years before running for office. She has won numerous awards for her work. Learn more here.

2. Judge Marilyn Zayas (D) currently serves on the 1st District Court of Appeals. She was appointed by Ohio’s Chief Justice to sit on the Supreme Court on a case in replacement for a recused justice and to serve in replacement on 4 other appeals courts. Zayas began her career as a technology professional with Procter and Gamble. After law school, she started her own firm where she worked on a variety of legal issues. She is the first and only Latina elected to any Ohio Court of Appeals and would be the first Latina elected to the Ohio Supreme Court. Learn more here.

3. Judge Terri Jamison currently serves on the 10th District Court of Appeals. She has been a judge since 2012, first serving as a trial judge on the court of common pleas. Jamison began her working life as an underground coal miner and then opened and ran her own insurance company while going to college part-time. She sold her insurance agency to attend law school and spent her first years practicing law as a public defender before starting her own firm. She was elected a judge just a few years later. Jamison would be just the third Black woman elected to the Ohio Supreme Court. Her life story is the thing of movies. Learn more here.

Pledge to vote to protect our state courts by choosing qualified and impartial judges to sit on Ohio’s Supreme Court.

Paid for by AFJ Action campaign and not coordinated with any candidates or candidate committees.