Five key business groups endorse Republicans over Democrats for Ohio Supreme Court
Ohio’s five largest business organizations are endorsing the Republican nominees in all three Ohio Supreme Court races this fall.
The organizations said these judicial positions will be critical in deciding the role the court plays in state policy.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, joined the Ohio Business Roundtable, the National Federation of Independent Business Ohio, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association in endorsing the three Republican Supreme Court justices this fall — the first time judicial nominees will have their political party affiliation alongside their names on the ballot.
"The court races that are on the ballot this year have three incumbent judicial restraint judges, and there are three judges that are much more activists running against them," said Steve Stivers, Ohio Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, at a press conference announcing the endorsements.
Stivers was a Republican congressman for 10 years before taking the helm at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Justices Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer, both Republicans, are running against Democratic appeals court judges Marilyn Zayas and Terri Jamison. Justice Sharon Kennedy, a Republican, is running for chief justice against Justice Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat.
The groups say the Republicans represent "predictability" and "stability" over their Democratic opponents when it comes to important business issues coming before the court, such as those dealing with liability insurance, private property, contracts, and taxes.
Roger Geiger, National Federation of Independent Business Ohio executive director, said these races together are the most important on the ballot this fall.
“It will decide whether or not we have a court that second guesses anything that the legislature does, second guesses anything that the executive branch does, or whether it chooses to fairly and judiciously apply the law," Geiger said.
Kennedy, DeWine, and Fischer have all voted to uphold every legislative and congressional district map approved by Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission. The maps have been ruled unconstitutionally gerrymandered by a majority of the court, composed of Brunner and the court’s two other Democrats along with current Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.
These groups typically have backed Republican candidates, who have prioritized issues such as changing rules on mandatory overtime. But the Ohio Chamber of Commerce has broken with some Republican state lawmakers over attempts to ban any sort of vaccine requirement, and has not been able to push a bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Stivers added that the chamber’s dark money group is fundraising for ads and voter outreach, but since it’s not legally required, it won’t disclose its donors.