2020 Candidate for Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court: Judith L. French

2020 Candidate for Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court: Judith L. French

Age: 58
Residence: Columbus
Email: JusticeJudiFrench@gmail.com
Occupation: Justice, Ohio Supreme Court
Education: B.A. (Political Science); M.A. (History); J.D. (Law with honors), The Ohio State University

Work Experience: Justice, Ohio Supreme Court (2013-present); Judge, Tenth District Court of Appeals (2004-2012); Chief Legal Counsel to the Ohio Governor (2002-2004); Assistant Attorney General/Chief Counsel to the Attorney General of Ohio (1997-2002); Chief Legal Counsel, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (1993-1997); Associate Counsel, Steelcase, Inc. (1993); Associate, Porter Wright Law Firm (1988-1993).

Family: Married with two children and two grandchildren.

Affiliations: 2008 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Recipient for work as Ohio’s 52nd Secretary of State – https://www.jfklibrary.org/events-and-awards/profile-in-courage-award/award-recipients/jennifer-brunner-2008; current Board Chair, The Legacy Fund of the Columbus Foundation, supporting central Ohio LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations; former board member of Cleveland-based Center for Community Solutions (research and advocacy on health policy) 2012-2019; American, Ohio and Columbus Bar Associations; American Judges Association; Oxfam Sisters of the Planet Ambassador; Member of US Global Leadership Coalition Ohio Advisory Committee; religious affiliations: Catholic and United Church of Christ (protestant)
Endorsements: Ohio Fraternal Order of Police; Ohio Chamber of Commerce PAC; Ohio Farm Bureau AGGPAC; NFIB Ohio; Affiliated Construction Trades Ohio (ACT Ohio); Ohio State Medical Association PAC
Bar Association Ratings:
2020 Highly Recommended – https://www.ohiobar.org/about-us/media-center/osba-news/2020news/ohio-state-bar-association-commission-on-judicial-candidates-announces-ohio-supreme-court-candidate-ratings-for-the-2020-election/
2014 Highly Recommended – by the Ohio State Bar Association Commission on Judicial Candidates 2010 Highly Recommended – by the Columbus Bar Association Judicial Committee http://www.cbalaw.org/cba_prod/Main/Resources/Public/Judicial-Elections.aspx

Judicial Experience: Justice, Ohio Supreme Court 2013 – present
– Appointed January 2013; elected November 2014.
– Serve on seven-member court with statewide jurisdiction over all legal matters, including discretionary and non-discretionary appeals, original actions, death-penalty appeals, and disciplinary matters.
– Serve as frequent presenter before high school, college, law school, legal professional, and general public audiences on matters of access to justice, civic education, law, and campaign policy.
– Appointed by United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts to serve on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee. Judge, Tenth District Court of Appeals 2004 – 2012
– Appointed October 2004; elected November 2004; re-elected November 2010.
– Served on eight-member court with jurisdiction over civil, criminal, and administrative appeals; authored 800 opinions.
– Served as administrative judge (2007 and 2008) and as presiding judge (2009)

Non-Judicial Legal Experience:
For more than two decades, I have dedicated my career to public service. Before becoming a judge, I had served as chief legal counsel to the governor, an assistant attorney general, and a state government lawyer. Those years in public service are critical to my understanding of state laws, my adherence to constitutional limitations, and my commitment to careful and efficient decision making on behalf of all Ohioans.
I also have legal experience in the private sector, having worked in a law firm and a large manufacturing corporation. That private experience helps me understand the practical impact of our decisions and appreciate the impact of our judicial rules and procedures.
Finally, as the daughter of a schoolteacher, I appreciate my Ohio roots and education, and I am committed to using my voice as a Justice to be a part of civic education in Ohio. I speak frequently to students, educators, and civic organizations. Since taking office, I have traveled to all 88 counties (I am on my fifth time around), and I have met with individuals, organizations, businesses, and local leaders, all in an effort to serve them better. If reelected, I will continue that level and method of service.

Why are you running for this particular court seat?

I first aspired to be a justice because it offers interesting, challenging, and meaningful work that serves the public interest. I aspire to be reelected to the office because I want to continue that work, both on and off the bench. As a justice, I am able not only to bring attention to needs within the legal profession, the judiciary, and the public as a whole, but also to advocate for change to meet those needs.

In particular, during my next term, I intend to continue the court’s work to improve our efficiency and that of all Ohio courts. I also intend to continue my work with the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation and local legal aid organizations to bring more attention, resources, and innovation to the needs of undeserved Ohioans.

This information has been collected by the League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown (LWVGY). Candidates provided authorization for it to be published on the WKBN website. Questions were selected by the LWVGY and addressed to the candidates, in partnership with WKBN. Candidates were informed that their responses would be printed exactly as submitted, and that has been done. Candidates are responsible for the accuracy of the information provided. WKBN in publishing this material neither endorses nor rejects the views of any candidate and does not and cannot assume responsibility for the content of any candidate’s reply or motive for making the same. Material contained in this post may not be reproduced without the written consent of WKBN.  The complete LWVGY’s Voter Information Guide, which also includes information on local issues, will be published on the LWVGY’s website www.lwvgy.com by Sept. 28, 2020, and it will be distributed in print version throughout Mahoning County. 

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