In the midst of Ohio’s legal debate over partisan ballot rules, KJK Partner and Chairman of the global law firm network Meritas, Brett Krantz, spoke with Law360’s Ryan Harroff on the ongoing case involving Justice Jennifer Brunner.
Krantz weighed in on Justice Brunner’s challenge to a state law categorizing appellate judge candidates by party affiliation, emphasizing the intricacies of the legal landscape.
“I think she has a little bit better argument on the free speech side than on the due process or equal protection side,” Krantz said. “I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I think any time you’re a judge and you’re going and saying, ‘This violates my constitutional rights to give less information to the voters,’ I think that’s an uphill battle,” Krantz noted.
Krantz also noted that both Democrat and Republican organizations already distribute lists of their preferred judicial candidates to voters and said that putting a party affiliation on the ballot itself is not the only way the public can get an impression of a judge’s political leanings.
Justice Brunner’s attorney and husband Rick Brunner told Law360 in November that part of the issue is what incorrect impressions voters could have of a judicial candidate based on their party affiliation, even if that candidate does not agree with their party on every matter. Krantz said that while voters might make assumptions about how a judge feels on a given issue because of general party trends, that does not necessarily rise to the level of a constitutional problem.
“If you make the assumption that voting for judges is the appropriate thing to do, I don’t think you should take knowledge away from voters,” Krantz said.
To read the full article, as originally published in Law360, “Ohio Supreme Court Justice Battles Partisan Ballot Rule,” visit here.