Ohio Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court of Ohio is the highest court in the 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 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.

Ohio Supreme Court rulings on ballot measures

Year Type Ballot measure Legal issue Plaintiff Defendant Court ruling Impact
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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 the 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.

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 nominally partisan political offices, both state and federal.

With the election of Justice Robert R. Cupp in November 2006 to replace Democrat Alice Robie Resnick, the Court is currently all Republican.

Justice Date Service Began Term Ends
Thomas Moyer (Chief Justice) January 1, 1987 December 31, 2010
Paul Pfeifer January 2, 1993 January 1, 2011
Evelyn Stratton March 7, 1996 January 1, 2009
Maureen O'Connor January 1, 2003 December 31, 2008
Terrence O'Donnell May 19, 2003 December 31, 2012
Judith Ann Lanzinger January 1, 2005 December 31, 2010
Robert Cupp January 2, 2007 January 1, 2013


  • From January to May 2003, for the first time since the court's creation, the female justices temporarily outnumbered the male justices. This historic female majority comprised Republicans Deborah L. Cook, Maureen O'Connor, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, and Democrat Alice Robie Resnick. This majority ended when Cook resigned from the court to accept an appointment to the federal bench. The other three women continued to serve on the court. However, beginning on January 1, 2005, female justices again were in the majority with the commencement of her first term by Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, who replaced retiring Justice Francis E. Sweeney Sr.


  1. Ohio Revised Code § 2503.01

External links