Kennedy declined to pledge that she’d recuse herself from cases in which a party had donated more than $1,000 to her campaign in the previous 12 months. Instead, she said current limits on judicial campaigns — how much and when they may receive contributions — are “commensurate with being reasonable” and judicial conduct codes already provide guidance for recusals.
New rules governing how legislative and congressional district maps will be drawn in 2021 gives the high court jurisdiction over any challenges.
Kennedy said she hopes the map makers come to an amicable resolution so no challenge comes before the court. But how would she approach such a challenge if it were before her? “I am an individual that exercises judicial restraint,” she said.
Kennedy brushed aside questions of whether the Democratic or Republican control of the court matters. Instead, she said voters should consider judicial candidates’ experience and legal philosophy when casting their ballots.
“When I look at judicial candidates, I want to know what kind of legal thinker they will be. I want someone who is going to exercise judicial restraint. That is really how this country was founded and what keeps the republic alive,” she said.
Kennedy, who has been on the high court since 2012, said she is a strong backer of public records and open meetings laws.
Media law attorney John Greiner wrote an April 2019 article for the Ohio Coalition for Open Government that the supreme court delivered four decisions in 2018 that would enhance the public’s right to know. Greiner noted that Kennedy authored the majority opinion in all four cases and he said “it seems Justice Kennedy has decided to take a leading role in the area of transparency.”
Kennedy would not comment on whether she has ambitions to become chief justice when O’Connor leaves the court. “I can only look at this race in front of me.”
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy
Hometown: Liberty Twp.
Family: Single, no children
Political Party: Republican
Political Experience: Ohio Supreme Court justice, 2012 to current; Butler County Common Pleas Court Domestic Relations judge, 1999-2012; attorney since 1991; former Hamilton police officer.
Education: Bachelor’s and law degrees from University of Cincinnati.