Gavel Grab

New Turn in Ohio: No 'R' or 'D' on Judicial Ballots

In a story that we have followed here at Gavel Grab, the Ohio Supreme Court has changed course, and will continue to bar  judicial candidates from declaring their political party during general elections. The decision came less than a month after the state Supreme Court revised the Ohio Judicial Code of Conduct to allow party labels on the ballot.

According to the Metro Blog of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the original decision to end the ban  came after a 19-member task force, responsible for aligning the Ohio Judicial Conduct Code with the 2008 ABA Model Code Revision, recommended this change.

A shroud of secrecy surrounds the court’s decision. According to the Plain Dealer:

Court spokesman Chris Davey on Tuesday said the court will not explain to the public why it held the secret deliberations after initially welcoming public input. He insisted the court did not bow to “any external communication.”

It is worth noting that this provision only affects the general election. Ohio judicial candidates must run in party-conducted  primary elections to be chosen for the general election ballot. 

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Response to Ohio's Proposed Rules on Judicial Conduct

Ohio’s Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer established a task force to examine the Code of Judicial Conduct, which regulate the judicial and extra judicial activities of judges. This is Ohio’s first comprehensive review of the Code since the late 1990s. The Task Force on the Code of Judicial Conduct released proposed amendments to the Ohio Judicial Code on February 26. These proposed rules do not include establishing disqualification standards or recusal standards for campaign contributors.

To view the complete set of draft rules, visit the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Web site at

The following is a letter that Ohio Citizen Action sent to the Task Force on the Code of Judicial Conduct–

Read more…

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New Report on Judicial Accountability Mechanisms

The report was released May 1 by HALT, based in Washington, D.C.  The organization issued grades in seven categories: (1) transparency; (2) availability of meaningful sanctions; (3) consumer friendliness; (4) online outreach; (5) public participation; (6) financial disclosure and (7) gift restrictions.

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4/10/08: Today From the Blogs

Massey, Massey, Massey – Lincoln Walks at Midnight
More on Massey and the West Virginia Supreme Court.

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4/3/08: All Around the World With the News

Gitmo tribunal rules limit evidence disclosures – The Miami Herald
Military tribunal says Gitmo rules make it hard to release trial information to the public.

Read more…

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3/20/08: The News Today…

Grisham’s Judicial Appeal – Wall Street Journal – Online
Editorial about the book, The Appeal by John Grisham. Their is also a less than complimentary mention of your favorite organization

Read more…

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3/12/08: The News According to Justice at Stake

Rulings on Judge Complaints to Be Public – The Associated Press
Federal Judge complaint rulings will now be made public courtesy of the Judicial Conference of America’s decision yesterday.

Minnesota’s chief justice says he will retire in coming months
– The West Central Tribune

Minnesota’s Chief Justice Retire from his seat in a few months.

Editorial: Supreme Court candidates could blow whistle on crass outside ads – The Northwestern
An editorial suggesting that the candidates in this year’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race should say no to outside ads.

Butler calls out ‘sleazy’ attacks – The Badger Herald
Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidate, Louis Butler, hits back at 3rd party attack ads aimed against him.

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3/6/08: More News From the World of the Blogs

If the judicial-election debate had its day in court …– Minnesota Lawyer Blog
A interesting look… what if Judicial Elections were in court? Who would be the plaintiff and the defendant. The most interesting question is whether the judge would recuse them self from the case? And the endless cycle of recusals that may follow.

“It’s not our job to educate the public. Our job is to decide vitally important cases under the Constitution.”– Althouse
That quote was from Chief Justice Roberts, which was an answer about televising Supreme Court arguments.

MonacoGate Remains Issue in Supreme Court Race– Lincoln Walks at Midnight
Who knew a vacation in Monaco could lead to so much controversy.

FBI director confirms privacy violations.– Think Progress
What’s privacy? That is how the FBI answered when confronted by people who’s they violated privacy was violated.

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3/3/08 – Criticism Around for Guantanamo; Same-Sex Marriage Case Hits the California Supreme Court; A Call For Tougher Ethics in Louisiana

State Supreme Court takes up same-sex marriage – The San Francisco Chronicle
The California Supreme Court will be looking at Same-Sex Marriage in a hearing Tuesday.

ABA protests war court at Guantanamo – The Register Guard
The ABA join in the protest for fair trials for the War Court at Guantanamo. ABA president, William Neukom, wrote a letter to President Bush, requesting a change.

State court seat most watched race – The Brewton Standard
The Brewton Standard pointing out that the Alabama Supreme court campaign will be the most watched because of how the 2006 campaign turned out. Justice at Stake is also paying close attention the Supreme Court Campaign this year also.

Iraqi Court Tosses American’s Conviction – The Associated Press
An interesting bit of news concerning the overthrow of an American court’s decision in Iraq.

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2/21/08: Coverage of a Major SCOTUS Decision; Who's Dropping Cash in Wisconsin?; Trent Lott Influencing Judges?

The Supreme Court has decided an important case about the meaning of constitutional rights and federalism.– Althouse
This post from Professor Althouse where she looks at the major decision by the Supreme Court on federalism. This is a worthwhile read.

Federalism and Danforth v. Minnesota– The Volokh Conspiracy
Eugene Volokh’s take on the major Supreme Court decision.

Trent Lott Investigated in Scruggs Judicial Influence Probe– ABA Journal
Not a blog, but the ABA have coverage of Senator Trent Lott’s possible criminal misconduct by attempting to a Mississippi court.

Groups Weighing in on Supreme Court Race– Boots and Sabres
A look at the donations in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race.

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