Analysis: Republicans want Ohio chief justice impeached. Some say their reasoning doesn’t hold up


Here’s a question for Republicans at the Ohio Statehouse who want to see Maureen O’Connor, the Republican Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio, impeached and removed from office because she wouldn’t give them what they wanted.

They say she overstepped her bounds by declaring unconstitutional the maps of state legislative districts and Congress that they spent months submitting to court.

They say she should be impeached by the Ohio House and tried by the Ohio Senate, with the goal of removing her from office – even if, due to age limits on judges in the Ohio, she’ll be gone in about eight months anyway.

So here’s the question many Ohioans are asking:

If you’re so determined to remove Maureen O’Connor from the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court of Ohio, why don’t you threaten to impeach the three Democrats who voted with her to reject your flawed district maps?

The three Democrats – Michael Donnelly, Melody Stewart and Jennifer Brunner – also blocked Republican plans to pass these cards.

They, along with O’Connor, say they were following constitutional amendments approved by more than 70% of Ohio voters who said loudly in two elections – 2015 and 2018 – that they support the new rules. redistricting that the majority of the court now applies.

Could it be that Republicans don’t really care what Democrats do on the ground because, well, they’re Democrats and, in their minds, all Democrats stand in their way?

O’Connor hasn’t said anything about this impeachment conversation, but she’s clearly not one to back down from a fight.

“In Ohio, Republican politics seems to be of the belief that everyone should follow the political party mindlessly,” said David Niven, a professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, who has been highly critical of the Republican majority on the redistricting of Ohio. Committee.

“If you believe your own argument that Maureen O’Connor should be impeached, you couldn’t go down that road without impeaching others,” Niven said.

“It reminds me of the 147 members of Congress who voted not to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election because they believed there was massive voter fraud,” Niven said. “If they were right, they were saying their own congressional elections weren’t valid either. That makes no sense.”

Other members of the Fair Districts coalition, made up of groups that have gone to court and so far successfully challenged GOP maps, are publicly questioning why some Republicans are singling out O’Connor as an impeachment target when four judges rejected the Republican cards.

One of the Republican members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state’s Chief Electoral Officer, voted for each map that the majority of the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled it unconstitutional.

Last Friday at a GOP breakfast in Union County, LaRose was asked if he thinks O’Connor should be impeached.

“I think she broke her oath of office, and that to me is a basic test of a public servant,” said LaRose, who is not a lawyer. chief justice or not. I certainly wouldn’t object.

On Monday, Karen Kasler, bureau chief for Ohio Public Radio and TV, interviewed LaRose about voter registration and early voting. The subject of what LaRose said in Union County has come up; and Kasler shared the recording with me.

“All I said was it would be fine with me,” LaRose told him. hired freelance mappers out of state and some of that other stuff.”

“All I’ve said is if the state legislature makes that choice, I’m not going to oppose it,” LaRose told Kasler. “It’s up to them, it’s not up to me.”

It’s unclear what support there is for O’Connor’s impeachment within the House GOP caucus, which has 64 of the 99 members of the Ohio House.

A handful have spoken about it publicly. The Ohio Capitol Journal reported last month that State Rep. Bill Seitz of Green Township, the leader of the House majority floor, and State Rep. Jon Cross of Kenton, argued for the impeachment of O’Connor in a private GOP caucus phone call last month.

There’s an argument there that’s a bridge too far for most Republicans in the Legislature.

GOP leaders in the Legislature are unlikely to choose this path, but if they do, there will be a question from their critics that will weigh down the proceedings:

Why dismiss a single judge when four have done so?


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