Here’s What They’re Saying: Why Won’t Pat DeWine Recuse Himself From Redistricting Cases Involving His Dad?

Columbus, OH — Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine’s politically charged decision not to recuse himself from the redistricting Supreme Court cases surrounding his father Mike DeWine is putting the DeWine family in hot water for putting their political interests over the needs of Ohio voters.

Amid such a blatant conflict of interest, several media outlets in Ohio are asking the same question: Why hasn’t Justice DeWine recused himself from the cases involving dear old Dad’s unconstitutional vote? 

“If you look up ‘conflict of interest’ in the dictionary, there’s now a family picture of the DeWines. Pat DeWine’s refusal to recuse himself from a case involving his own father is as clear cut as you can get when it comes to conflicts of interest, and it’s far past time for him to put politics aside, do the right thing for Ohioans and recuse himself from the case,” said Matt Keyes, spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party. 

Read more coverage of what many are calling an “unprecedented move” by DeWine below:  

Statehouse News Bureau: Justice DeWine Won’t Recuse Himself in Case Involving His Father

Andy Chow

“Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine is refusing to recuse himself from three court cases involving state House and Senate maps approved last month by the Ohio Redistricting Commission on which his father, Gov. Mike DeWine, sits.

Cleveland State University’s Marshall College of Law Professor Doron Kalir says it would have been proper for Justice DeWine to recuse himself from hearing the cases for two reasons. One, because the case went straight to the state’s high court and his father, Gov. DeWine, is directly involved as a defendant.

… 

“Secondly, Kalir says Justice DeWine should’ve stepped down on the redistricting cases because Gov. DeWine sits on the commission that made the maps being challenged.

“Kalir cites precedent that shows the mere appearance of bias is a reason enough to step down from hearing a case. And he notes the U.S. Supreme Court might be slightly more interested in picking up one of the Ohio redistricting cases if they are asked because it could be used as a vehicle since it could be used to overturn that earlier precedent.”

Cleveland.com: Has Any Ohio Judge Ever had the Conflict of Interest Justice Pat DeWine has?

Laura Johnston

“Justice Pat DeWine’s refusal to recuse himself from a trio of redistricting lawsuits, in which his father — Gov. Mike DeWine — is a defendant who will testify as a witness seems unprecedented. We can’t find any similar cases.”

Cincinnati Enquirer: Justice Pat DeWine won’t Recuse Himself from Lawsuits over Maps Approved by Father Gov. Mike DeWine

Jessie Balmert 

The Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct requires a judge to disqualify himself from “any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” That includes when a judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party to the case.

“The DeWine family can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to bending the rules to fit their own political interests,” Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Matt Keyes said. “Even though Justice DeWine has recused himself before on cases involving his father, they’re deciding to play by a different set of rules now that the political future of our state is at stake.

“Pat DeWine recused himself from a case on whether to delay the state’s 2020 primary amid COVID-19, a decision made by Mike DeWine’s state health department.

“DeWine also recused himself from weighing in on whether Mike DeWine had the power to stop $300 in weekly federal unemployment benefits early.

“Pat DeWine said he stepped away from those cases out of an abundance of caution because Mike DeWine was the primary or exclusive decisionmaker.”

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