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Mike DeWine plans to announce new Ohio Supreme Court justice by the end of the year

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Daniel Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau

Gov. Mike DeWine plans to fill the empty seat on the Ohio Supreme Court by announcing his appointment by the end of the year.

Justice Sharon Kennedy, a Republican, won her bid to become Ohio Supreme Court chief justice, against fellow justice Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, in November.

DeWine said it’s important for the new justice to be named by the end of the year in order to start right away.

“The new justice should be able to sit with the other justices when there are oral arguments that are taking place,” said DeWine.

The governor said Thursday that his office has been receiving calls and suggestions as to who should fill the empty seat on the Ohio Supreme Court on a daily basis.

However, DeWine would not specifically mention who might be vying for the spot and he neither confirmed nor denied reports that Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters might be in the running.

There are currently four Republicans and three Democrats on the supreme court. That includes Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican, who has become a critical swing vote in high-profile cases – such as siding with the Democratic justices in rulings against newly-drawn congressional and state legislative maps.

O’Connor is stepping down at the end of the year due to Ohio’s age limit for judges. Kennedy will take over as chief justice, leaving her previous seat vacant.

It’s likely DeWine will select a Republican to fill that vacant seat, retaining the 4 to 3 GOP majority on the bench.

Contact Andy at achow@statehousenews.org.