Supreme Court of Ohio

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Ohio Supreme Court
Seal of the Supreme Court of Ohio.svg
Established 1841
Country Ohio Ohio, United States United States
Location Columbus, Ohio
Composition method Semipartisan election
Authorized by Ohio Constitution
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States
Judge term length 6 Years
Number of positions 7
Website Official Website
Chief Justice
Currently Maureen O'Connor
Since 2003 (Associate Justice) 2011 (Chief Justice)
Lead position ends 2017
Jurist term ends 2017
The Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center

The Supreme Court of Ohio is the highest court in the U.S. state of Ohio, with final authority over interpretations of Ohio law and the Ohio Constitution. The court has seven members, a chief justice and six associate justices, each serving six-year terms. Since 2004, the court has met in the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center (formerly known as the Ohio Departments Building) on the east bank of the Scioto River in downtown Columbus. Prior to 2004, the court met in the James A. Rhodes State Office Tower and earlier in the Judiciary Annex (now the Senate Building) of the Ohio Statehouse.

The Ohio Supreme Court and the rest of the judiciary is established and authorized within Article IV of the Ohio Constitution.


All the seats on the court are elected at large by the voters of Ohio. Every two years, two of the associate justice seats are up for election. For one of those three elections in a cycle, the chief justice's seat is up for election. In order to run for a seat on the court, a person must be admitted to the Bar in Ohio, and have practiced as a lawyer or served as a judge for at least six years.[1] There is an age limit: One may not run for a seat on any Ohio court if one is more than 70 years of age. This limit often forces the retirement of long-time justices. Justice Francis E. Sweeney, Sr., was barred by this rule from running for re-election in 2004. However, a judge who reaches the age of 70 after being elected is not prevented from completing her or his term in office.

The Governor of Ohio may appoint a Justice to the Court when there is a vacancy.

Officially, the judicial elections are non-partisan. However, in practical terms, all this means is that party designations for the candidates are left off the ballot and justices are restricted in making public political statements. Major and minor parties all nominate candidates for the court in their primary elections. The vast majority of justices have been nominated by the two major parties in Ohio, Democratic or Republican. Many of the individuals who have contested Supreme Court seats have also contested for explicitly partisan political offices, both state and federal.

From the election of Justice Robert R. Cupp in November 2006 to replace Democrat Alice Robie Resnick until the 2010 appointment of Eric Brown as Chief Justice, the Court was all Republican.

Justice (party) Born Date service began Term ends Mandatory
Maureen O'Connor (R) (Chief Justice)
Associate Justice-January 1, 2003
Chief Justice-January 1, 2011
December 31, 2016
Paul E. Pfeifer (R)
January 2, 1993
January 1, 2017
Terrence O'Donnell (R)
May 19, 2003
December 31, 2018
Judith Ann Lanzinger (R)
January 1, 2005
December 31, 2016
Sharon L. Kennedy (R)
December 7, 2012
December 31, 2020
Judith L. French (R)
January 1, 2013
January 1, 2021
William M. O'Neill (D)
January 2, 2013
January 1, 2019

Asterisks (*) next to retirement dates indicate justices who will be permitted to complete their current terms, but will be barred from running for reelection due to having exceeded the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.

  • In the court's history, there have been three instances where the female justice have outnumbered the male justices. The first occurred from January to May 2003. The second time this occurred in 2005 and 2006. The third time was beginning in January 2011 and remains the case under the current configuration of the court even though there have been several changes in justices since 2011.

Important cases[edit]

In DeRolph v. State (1997) found that Ohio's method of funding its schools was unconstitutional. The case originated in the Perry County Schools. The Butler County Probate Court went after real estate in Maine, out of its jurisdiction. The Ohio 12th Court of appeals lacking jurisdiction did support the Butler County Probate Court. By dismissing the case, the Ohio Supreme Court concealed wrong doing.


Name Job description Wages Overtime Year
Maureen O'Connor Chief Justice $157,585 $0.00 2012
Paul E. Pfeifer Judge $148,335 $0.00 2012
Terrence O'Donnell Judge $148,335 $0.00 2012
Judith L. French Judge $141,600[2] $0.00 2013
William O'Neill Judge $141,600[2] $0.00 2013
Judith A. Lanzinger Judge $148,335 $0.00 2012
Sharon L. Kennedy Judge $141,600[2] $0.00 2013

The data contained in the table comes from the website of the Buckeye Institute.[3] Salaries are paid by the Ohio Treasurer.

Disciplinary Counsel[edit]

The Ohio Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel investigate Ohio judges and attorneys in order to protect the public. The Ohio Supreme Court announced though its website the dismissal of former Disciplinary Counsel on 29 August 2013. Currently Scott Drexel is Disciplinary Counsel and his office investigates grievances.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ohio Revised Code § 2503.01
  2. ^ a b c First year of service. Statutory salary $141,600 plus COLA since 2008
  3. ^ "State Salary". Buckeye Institute. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°57′37″N 83°00′09″W / 39.960358°N 83.002487°W / 39.960358; -83.002487