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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund
State of Ohio November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

Eric Brown
Answers Questions

Candidate for
Chief Justice; Ohio State Supreme Court


The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

Questions & Answers

1. How do you define "judicial independence", and how important is it to our judicial system? What measures ensure an independent judiciary?

The General Assembly writes Ohio`s laws and the Governor administers them, however the Supreme Court decides their meaning and how they will be applied to real-world situations. Courts have responsibility to review laws to ensure they comport with the Ohio and United States Constitutions. This power of judicial review gives meaning to our system of checks and balances. Generally, the meaning of laws is unambiguous, but sometimes, given a particular set of facts, the meaning is not clear and must be discerned by various well-established rules of construction. In these cases, courts must provide an interpretation that makes sense, providing appropriate deference to the role of lawmakers and with an eye to providing justice. Courts must be and remain independent of the other branches of government, working cooperatively on administrative and fiscal matters, while vigilantly protecting judicial independence with respect to deciding cases.

2. Would you recuse yourself if a party before you had made a significant judicial campaign expenditure toward your election? Please explain.

Disqualification of a judge is governed by the Code of Judicial Conduct, particularly Rule 2.11, by common sense, and by the imperative of providing fair and impartial justice. Comments to the rule specifically provide that public support or campaign contributions within the limits allowed by the rules do not disqualify a judge. Because the code substantially limits the amount of campaign contributions, it is unlikely that a judicial candidate in Ohio will ever be disqualified for reasons of due process, as in Caperton. However unlikely, the issue could arise in connection with independent expenditures, and if so, disclosure and due process analysis would guide my decision. Importantly, the rules provide for disclosure of information that might lead a judge to disqualify, and for reasons other than personal bias or prejudice, parties may independently waive disqualification. In close cases, I disclose information to best ensure fairness.

3. What do you perceive to be the greatest obstacle to justice in Ohio?

Courts (and government) serve by consent of the people, which means that to provide justice, courts and judges must have the trust and confidence of the people they serve. Throughout my judicial career, I have worked to ensure that all persons who come to court are treated with respect and courtesy, that all persons have their matters considered fairly and impartially, and that every person leaves the court knowing that they have been heard. Achieving these goals also requires a commitment to diversity and equality, and I am determined to see the Ohio judicial system significantly improve. Throughout my career, I have been motivated primarily by public and community service, and by helping others. I believe that judges and lawyers should be engaged in their communities

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. Word limits apply for each question. Direct references to opponents are not permitted.

Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: September 26, 2010 17:04
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