Maureen O'Connor

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Maureen O'Connor
Current Court Information:
Ohio Supreme Court
Title:   Chief Justice
Salary:  $151,000
Selection method:   Elected
Active:   2002-2016
Chief:   2011-2016
Past post:   Lieutenant Governor of Ohio
Past term:   1998-2002
Past post 2:   Prosecuting Attorney, Summit County, Ohio
Past term 2:   1995-1997
Personal History
Party:   Republican
Undergraduate:   Seton Hill College, 1973
Law School:   Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 1980

Maureen O'Connor is the chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. She assumed the position in January 2011. She was first elected to the court in November of 2002 and was elected as chief justice in 2010. Her current term expires in 2016.[1]


O'Connor received her B.A. in 1973 from Seton Hill College and her J.D. in 1980 from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.[1]


Awards and associations


  • 2008: William H. Rehnquist Award, Republican Party of Cuyahoga County
  • 1997: MADD Law Enforcement Award, Summit County, Ohio
  • 1997: Cleveland State University Distinguished Alumnae Award for Civic Achievement[1]


  • 2011: Women's Bar Foundation Leadership Institute[2]
  • Chair, Advisory Committee on Court Security and Emergency Preparedness, Ohio Supreme Court



Main article: Ohio judicial elections, 2010

O'Connor was elected Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, becoming the first woman to serve as Chief Justice in Ohio history. She defeated Eric Brown in the general election, winning 67.8% of the vote.[3][4]

Candidate IncumbentSeatPartyElection %
Maureen O'Connor ApprovedA NoBrown SeatRepublican67.6%
Eric Brown YesBrown SeatDemocratic32.4%

2008 election

Justice Connor was up for re-election on November 4, 2008. She faced Joseph D. Russo, a Common Pleas Court judge from Cuyahoga County. Justice O'Connor won with 67% of the votes, to Judge Russo's 33%. [5]

Candidate IncumbentSeatPartyElection %
Maureen O'Connor ApprovedA YesO'Connor SeatRepublican67.1%
Joseph Russo NoO'Connor SeatDemocratic32.9%

2002 election

In 2002, O'Connor defeated opponent Timothy S. Black, winning 57.25% of the vote.[6] O’Connor's campaign raised $1,777,617. Black's campaign raised $1,323,136.[7]

The election of O'Connor switched the majority of justices of the Ohio Supreme Court from liberal to conservative. Following the election, it was called a "watershed moment" for the court. [8]

Candidate IncumbentPartyElection %
Maureen O'Connor ApprovedA NoRepublican58.3%
Timothy S. Black NoDemocratic42.7%

Proposal for strengthening judicial elections

On May 26, 2013, O'Connor contributed an op-ed piece to the Columbus Dispatch introducing a proposal titled "Ohio Courts 2013: A Proposal for Strengthening Judicial Elections." This proposal was submitted in hopes of encouraging the public to get involved in judicial reform. Issues that O'Connor presented for consideration:

  • Should Ohio change the law so judicial races are no longer listed at the end of the ballot?
  • Should all judicial elections be held in odd-numbered years?
  • Should Ohio centralize and expand its civic-education programming and institute a judicial voter guide?
  • Should Ohio eliminate party affiliation on the ballot in judicial primaries?
  • Should Ohio join the other states that have a formal, nonpartisan system for recommending nominees to the governor to fill judicial vacancies?
  • Should appointments to the Ohio Supreme Court require the advice and consent of the Ohio Senate?
  • Should Ohio increase the basic qualifications for serving as a judge?
  • Should Ohio increase the length of judges’ terms?

O'Connor's proposal can be found at: "A proposal for strengthening judicial elections".[9]

See also: Akron Legal News, "It’s time to work together to strengthen judicial elections," May 30, 2013

Plan to reduce judiciary budget

During a news conference on July 21, 2010, O'Connor outlined a plan to help reduce the cost of running the judiciary in Ohio, focusing on the chief justice's role as head of the state's courts. Ways to cut costs include: cuts to the Ohio Courts Network, the state law library, and implementing a two year salary freeze for court personnel.[10]

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. O'Connor received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of 0.91, indicating a conservative ideological leaning. This is more conservative than the average CF score of 0.62 that justices received in Ohio. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[11]

See also

External links


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