ICYMI: Cincinnati.com Highlights the ‘Republican Backscratching’ that Led to Joe Deters’ Ohio Supreme Court Appointment
February 27, 2023
Columbus, OH – In case you missed it, Cincinnati.com’s Scott Wartman late yesterday published a deep dive on newly-appointed Ohio Supreme Court Justice Joe Deters that highlighted his lack of experience and the politics behind the decision. One constitutional law expert in the story even remarked: “Of course, there’s politics going on here.”
“Ohioans deserve Supreme Court Justices who are fair, impartial and unswayed by political pressure. It’s the latest example of Republican backscratching that puts political relationships over the needs of working families,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters for the Cincinnati.com story.
The politics behind Deters’ appointment will have real consequences for working families, on issues ranging from abortion to redistricting. That same law expert remarked: “I always expected Gov. DeWine would appoint someone who was less likely than Chief Justice O’Connor to be skeptical of the Republican maps.”
Read more from Cincinnati.com here and below:
- Joe Deters didn’t take the usual route to the Ohio Supreme Court.
- When Deters took the oath Jan. 7, he was the first Ohio Supreme Court justice in 30 years to join the court without prior experience as a judge.
- Deters’ path to the Supreme Court has raised questions about how he got there and what it will mean for the direction of the state’s highest court.
- “This is the point where there’s the old line in Casablanca, ‘I’m shocked, shocked that gambling is going on,” said Jonathan Entin, a constitutional law expert at Case Western Reserve University. “Of course, there’s politics going on here. That’s inevitable.
- Top Democrats, however, have raised concerns about DeWine choosing “his buddy Joe Deters” for a pivotal court seat, even though he had no judicial experience.
- “Ohioans deserve Supreme Court Justices who are fair, impartial and unswayed by political pressure,” said Elizabeth Walters, Ohio Democratic Party chair. “It’s the latest example of Republican backscratching that puts political relationships over the needs of working families.”
- Deters has politically supported Gov. DeWine and his son, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine. Deters’ campaign committee since 2012 has contributed $8,763.55 to Mike DeWine’s campaigns and $4,500 to Pat DeWine’s justice campaign since 2012.
- Then, in January 2019, Deters hired Justice DeWine’s senior staff attorney, Mary Stier, as an assistant prosecutor in the appellate division.
- Stier and Justice DeWine are currently in a relationship, the justice confirmed via a statement in an email to The Enquirer.
- “I want you to interview her immediately,” Deters wrote in a one-line email Oct. 2, 2018, to one of the chief assistant prosecutors, Ronald Springman. Deters forwarded Stier’s cover letter.
- While it’s not known how Deters will vote, experts said they expected whoever DeWine would appoint would be more likely to side with Republicans.
- “I always expected Gov. DeWine would appoint someone who was less likely than Chief Justice O’Connor to be skeptical of the Republican maps.”
- When asked his position on specific issues, he often responded that he would enforce the law.
- For instance, on abortion, Deters told The Enquirer shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade that he would prosecute any violations of an abortion ban.