Opinion: Break up the one-party rule on the Ohio Supreme Court

Campaign contributions to Republican Ohio Supreme Court justices pay big dividends for the donors. The New York Times article “Campaign Cash Mirrors a High Court’s Rulings” points out a strong correlation between campaign contributions and individual Ohio Supreme Court Justice’s votes in judicial decisions in Ohio. This cartoon is from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The 2002 poll commissioned by the League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund found that 83% of voters believed that campaign contributions influence the decisions of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Today, all seven Ohio Supreme Court justices are Republicans with little to check the excesses of one-party rule.

Newspaper articles and studies have pointed to a correlation between campaign contributions and the votes of members of the Ohio Supreme Court. The New York Times article “Campaign Cash Mirrors a High Court’s Rulings” noted:

"An examination of the Ohio Supreme Court by The New York Times found that its justices routinely sat on cases after receiving campaign contributions from the parties involved or from groups that filed supporting briefs. On average, they voted in favor of contributors 70 percent of the time. Justice O’Donnell voted for his contributors 91 percent of the time, the highest rate of any justice on the court."

Under Ohio’s Code of Judicial Conduct (Canon 3), judges should disqualify themselves when they cannot perform their duties “impartially and diligently.” The NYTimes investigation found that Ohio Supreme Court judges almost never disqualified themselves from hearing their contributors cases:

"In the 12 years that were studied, the justices almost never disqualified themselves from hearing their contributors’ cases. In the 215 cases with the most direct potential conflicts of interest, justices recused themselves just 9 times."

2008 Judicial Candidates

UAPA does not endorse any candidates for judicial races, which are non-partisan. Below is a list of candidates. Whenever possible they are linked to their official Web sites or to information from the Ohio Board of Elections or the Columbus Dispatch.

The Ohio Board of Elections Judicial Voter Guide provides information submitted by the candidates. Not all chose to participate, but it does give details on several.

Justice of the Supreme Court (non-partisan)

Maureen O'Connor

Joseph D. Russo

Justice of the Supreme Court (non-partisan)

Peter M. Sikora

Evelyn L. Stratton

Franklin County Court of Appeals, 10th District (non-partisan)

John A. Connor

David Goodman (Columbus Dispatch bio)

Franklin County Court of Appeals, 10th District (non-partisan)

Richard D. Brown (Columbus Dispatch bio)

Lisa L. Sadler (Columbus Dispatch bio)

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, General Division (non-partisan)

Daniel T. Hogan

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas General Division (non-partisan)

David W. Fais

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, General Division (non-partisan)

Shawn Dingus

Richard S. Sheward (Ohio Board of Elections guide)

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, General Division (non-partisan)

Tim Horton

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations (non-partisan)

Dana Suzanne Preisse

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division (non-partisan)

Lawrence A. Belskis

Eric Brown

 

2008 County and State Candidates

UAPA is providing a list of Franklin County and Ohio races. Democratic candidates running for partisan office Nov. 4, 2008, are listed. The party of candidates for non-partisan races is not included. Candidates' official Web sites are linked wherever possible, but sometimes the only information available is a Columbus Dispatch endorsement or article.

Representative to Congress, 15th District

Mary Jo Kilroy

State Senator, 16th District

Danielle Blue

State Representative, 16th District

Ted Celeste

Franklin County Commissioner

Paula Brooks

John O’Grady

Clerk of Courts

Maryellen O'Shaughnessy

Franklin County Sheriff

Jim Karnes

Franklin County Treasurer

Edward Leonard (Columbus Dispatch endorsement)

Franklin County Coroner

Jan M. Gorniak (Columbus Dispatch bio)

State Board of Education, 16th District (non-partisan)

Kristen McKinley

James Moyer

Larry Wolpert (Columbus Dispatch bio)

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama

On Sunday's Meet The Press Gen. Colin Powell delivered the most convincing and eloquent endorsement (video) yet for Barack Obama.

Powell appeals to independents who are socially liberal, fiscally conservative and moderate on defense issues.

Unlike other endorsements, very recent polling indicates that Powell's endorsment carries weight with voters.

In supporting Obama, Powell decided to get specific -- and not only about McCain's inconsistent and erratic performance during the financial crisis, but also his poor judgment in choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Most notable was Powell's dire assessment of the state of the GOP:

"The party has moved even further to the right," he said, adding that, "over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower."

In the seven-minute explication of his reasons for endorsing Obama, Powell also critcized McCain for his response to the economic crisis and said that McCain's choice of Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate led him to question McCain's judgment.

"Now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president, Powell said.

"It isn't easy for me to disappoint Senator McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that. But I strongly believe that at this point in America's history we need a president that will not just continue — even with a new face and with some changes and with some maverick aspects — will not just continue basically the policies that we have been following in recent years.

"I think we need a transformational figure, I think that we need a president who is a generational change, and that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama. Not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Senator John McCain."

In case you are interested, here's more on Muslim-American hero Powell mentions in his endorsement, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, here, here and here. The photo of Khan's mother that so moved Powell can be seen here.

How to Vote Early

It's easy to vote early! Save yourself time and hassle by casting your ballor before November 4th. Here's how!

Vote Early by Mailvote

When you vote by mail, you won’t ever have to wait in line. To vote by mail, send your application to the board of elections by noon on Saturday, Nov. 1. Here's how to request your ballot. Your voted ballot must be received by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day or by Nov. 14 if postmarked by Monday, Nov. 3. Return postage of your voted ballot is prepaid by the County, so it won’t even cost you a stamp!

Vote Early in Person

To vote with an absentee ballot for the November 4, 2008 General Election in person before Election Day, go to Franklin County Veterans Memorial located at 300 West Broad Street in downtown Columbus. (See map.)
Weekday Hours: Monday through Friday from 8 AM until 7 PM beginning September 30 and ending November 3.
Saturday Hours: From 8 AM until 5 PM on October 4, 11, 18, 25 and November 1.
Sunday Hours: From 1 PM until 5 PM on October 5, 12, 19, 26, and November 2.


Voters must bring identification to the polls in order to vote a regular ballot on Election Day. Acceptable forms of identification are: current and valid photo identification, military identification, or a copy of a current utility bill (including cell phone bill), bank statement, or paycheck that shows the voter’s name and current address.

For more information, visit the Franklin County Board of Elections website.

Help Obama and Vote Early!

A record voter turnout is expected for the 2008 U.S. presidential election, and that prediction will put new election law reforms to the test. According to America.gov, in 2004, 125 million people voted in the presidential election, about 88 percent of registered voters. Experts believe that turnout in 2008 will be somewhere between 125 million and 200 million voters, the highest numbers in recent memory.

popYou can help Obama secure the win by voting early. With thanks to Zorland (as posted on the Daily Kos), here’s why:

1. By voting early you help out yourself. There will be no need for inordinate amounts of stress if something goes wrong on Election Day. Car trouble? Lost wallet? Gotta work late? Well, if you've voted early it's no worse than any other day. And, you avoid the long lines (and oh, will they be long)!

2. By voting early you help other people out by reducing the amount of time they have to wait in line. And by voting early, you can alleviate some of the strain placed on local poll workers, most of whom are working that 15 hour day not because of the great pay but because they believe in our election process, one of the most fundamental of all democratic privileges.

3. You can help out the campaign by becoming a Democratic poll worker. Visit the Franklin County Board of Elections for more information. Act quickly!

There are other things you can do, too:

a) Sign up to be an Observer on Election Day. This means you just watch everything that happens and make sure it’s on the up and up. Call Angela Brooks (cell) (617-784-1831) and tell her that Herb said to call.

b) Help to Get Out The Vote (GOTV). Contact Ankit Patel at apatel@ohioforchange.com or 735-2720 to help with this effort.

c) You can help pass out sample ballots at the polls. Available shifts include: 6:00 - 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Sign up online and someone will be in touch with you! Remember: Barack is counting on us to help win this election!

4. It's a lot harder for corrupt politicians to claim election fraud with your ballot. They are already planning on contesting the results of this election based on voter fraud. Read more about it here, and see what they’re saying in the UK.

You can easily vote early in Franklin County. Here's how!

The Daily Show: Are you a "Real American"?

Once again, Jon Stewart connects the dots, where the mainstream media misses it.

This time about the Republican's campaign claiming they are the party of the "Real Americans". The Jason Jones interview with the Wasilla mayor nails it:

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Here's the latest in a string of comments from Republicans that question Democrats' patriotism.

 

Obama stomps on McCain's big moment

Get your name in an endorsement ad for Ted Celeste TODAY!

Ted Celeste is placing an endorsement ad in the suburban newspapers and asks for your support TODAY. The ad will say "Join your friends and neighbors in Supporting Ted Celeste".

Email your name in TODAY to http://tedceleste.com/index.php?page=display&id=148.

If there is a problem with that link, then e-maill sam@tedceleste.com. The deadline is tomorrow (Wednesday), so please get your name in today! Thank you!

Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis

McCain's talk radio supporters are trying to rewrite history regarding the causes of the financial crisis.

This article sets the record straight.

By David Goldstein and Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — As the economy worsens and Election Day approaches, a conservative campaign that blames the global financial crisis on a government push to make housing more affordable to lower-class Americans has taken off on talk radio and e-mail.

Commentators say that's what triggered the stock market meltdown and the freeze on credit. They've specifically targeted the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the federal government seized on Sept. 6, contending that lending to poor and minority Americans caused Fannie's and Freddie's financial problems.

Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis.

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