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Jennifer Brunner Announces Bid For Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice

Jennifer Brunner
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Brunner

The first candidate has announced her bid to be the next Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court in a race that will be decided in November 2022. Sitting Justice Jennifer Brunner wants to become the first Democrat elected to the office in 40 years.

Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Brunner said she's running for chief justice because it's an opportunity to set the course for the Ohio Supreme Court.

The former secretary of state and appeals judge said she would like the court to be open to more cases, examine racial justice in the judicial system and take a more proactive role.

"I believe very strongly in a very bright line between the separation of powers in the courts and that also means using the powers of the court when it's necessary and called for and not falling back and saying 'well this is for the Legislature to decide' when actually it may be squarely in front of us," Brunner said.

On the issue of racial equality and justice, Brunner said there are rules and protocols within the criminal justice system that she would like to examine.

"To bring people together and say 'how can we do this better and how can we set the course for the future' where we're not continuing to use old methods of thinking that actually incorporate racism," Brunner said.

Two of Brunner's colleagues on the court, Republicans Sharon Kennedy and Pat DeWine, are also said to be considering a run for chief justice.

Ohio Republican Party Chair Bob Paduchik issued a statement focusing on Brunner's short time in office. Brunner was elected to the Ohio Supreme Court in November and was sworn-in in January.

"It is hard to fathom why a Justice who was elected just over six months ago and has not yet written a majority opinion would ask to be promoted to chief justice," Paduchik wrote. "Ohioans deserve a qualified chief justice who is steady and principled, not someone who is singularly focused on self-serving promotions."

Ohio's current Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor cannot run for re-election due to age restrictions. State law says a candidate is not allowed to run for a seat on court if they're over the age of 70-years-old.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.