Skindell Supreme Court Rumor Confirmed

I have been hearing for weeks that the Ohio Democratic Party planned to tap state Senator Mike Skindell of the Cleveland area to run for the third Supreme Court slot, against Justice Terence O'Donnell.

The party had a completely unknown candidate in that slot, attorney Robert Price, but he dropped out months ago and no one seemed to realize he'd ever been in anyway. (the Dispatch piece says he dropped out this month, but it was actually early April).

So I guess we'll be adding Skindell's name to the lengthy list of excellent candidates that Ohio Democrats have run for Supreme Court in the last decade and couldn't get elected. Since it waited two and a half months after Price's withdrawal to name another candidate, with time getting short, it's hard to see how Skindell, who has only run for office on the west side of Cuyahoga, has time to build any name recognition statewide.

It will be interesting to see if he gets any help from the state party, and if this will change up their game with the Supreme Court. So far that game has been to talk about Justice Yvette McGee Brown, Governor Strickland's appointee, endlessly, and act like Judge Bill O'Neill, running for Robert Cupp's seat, doesn't exist.

Cupp and O'Donnell should both go. Both embarrassed themselves last month with partisan votes in favor of decertifying the Freedom to Marry petition campaign for no valid reason. Four of their Republican Supreme Court colleagues agreed with Republican attorney general Mike DeWine that there were no legal issues with the petition drive.

Clearly neither Cupp nor O'Donnell is a brilliant legal mind. In fact, O'Donnell snagged the front page of the New York Times in October 2006 with a lengthy article about how he decided in favor of his campaign donors 91% of the time when a case involving one of them came before them (LIke Clarence Thomas, he apparently has never heard the word "recuse."). Skindell is bright and knowledgeable, and as a legislator has always shown more concern for the interests of regular working people than wealthy special interests. Clearly, his election would be a step up for the court. But given the ODP's approach to running Supreme Court candidates, I have to think, sadly, he hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell.

It is time to get some action in these races.

This letter was delivered to Justice Robert Cupp this afternoon. It will be interesting to see how he responds !

William Michael O'Neill
119 Waverly Lane
South Russell, Ohio 44022

June 25, 2012

Honorable Robert Cupp
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Justice Cupp:

It has come to my attention that your re-election committee may have violated the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct, and as a courtesy I wanted to give you the opportunity to correct the matter before I consider filing a formal complaint with Disciplinary Counsel.

As all Ohioans are painfully aware, First Energy Corporation and American Electric Power are involved in a very public dispute relating to millions of dollars of public energy purchase. Issues relating to that struggle are already before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and will in all probability result in being presented to the Ohio Supreme Court for final resolution. The outcome of this dispute will have significant consequences for every citizen and business in the State of Ohio.

I am writing this letter to you because I have been advised that on January 26, 2012 your re-election committee received and accepted a $6,300.00 campaign contribution from what is identified as FirstEnergy PAC FSL. I have serious concern that by accepting and retaining this contribution you are in violation of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct.

Canon 1 of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that “A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid impropriety, and the appearance of impropriety.” (Emphasis Added) As a personal aside, having spent 10 years as a Judge on the Court of Appeals, I would never even consider accepting a $6,300 contribution from anyone who could potentially appear in my Court. Such an action on its face can only serve to undermine the public?s confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary.

I am asking that you direct your Committee to return the First Energy contribution forthwith. I will withhold filing a complaint with Disciplinary Counsel until after July 4, 2012. I sincerely hope that you choose to do the right thing and that any inquiry by Disciplinary Counsel can be avoided.



He could recuse himself, couldn't he?

Or is he as unaware of that concept as Clarence Thomas?

That's The Whole Point

Of course he could recuse himself, but we all know that won't happen. My analysis is perfectly clear. You do not, and cannot, accept a $6,300 contribution from a party who is appearing before your Court. Ever. And oh by the way. On that same day in January, First Energy PAC also gave $6,300 to Justice O'Donnell and Judge Kennedy, who is running for the Supreme Court as a Republican. My what a coincidence. The electric company paying large sums of money to influence Supreme Court elections while expecting that same Supreme Court to fairly and impartially rule on their rate requests. Wow. Check out our video on

Skindell On the Ticket Is Good News On Many Fronts

State Senator Michael Skindell Joins The Ticket !!!

I have really good news to report today. The Ohio Democratic Party has appointed State Senator Michael Skindell from Lakewood to the open seat running for the Supreme Court against Justice Terrence O'Donnell. This is good news on a whole lot of fronts. Let's start with the obvious. The Democratic slate now running for the Supreme Court of Ohio is incumbent Justice Yvette McGee Brown; retired Judge William O'Neill; and State Senator Michael Skindell. That's right. There are THREE DEMOCRATS running for the high Court; and incumbent Justice Paul Pfeiffer is in mid-term. For those of you math majors out there, that means that the balance on the Supreme Court is open this year. Add three Democrats in 2012 and the Republican dominance of this Court could realistically end in four months. If you do not consider that extremely good news, you may as well stop reading right now...because it gets better.

Let's look at the balance issue for a moment. Yvette McGee Brown is an exprienced jurist from Franklin County (Columbus) and she has extensive experience running statewide. She was Ted Strickland's running mate in 2010 when she gave up a magnificent kid-related job at Nationwide Children's to run for Lieutenant Governor. She lights up a room whenever she speaks, she is raising dramatically more money than her opponent, and she is a hot ticket to speak in all kinds of forums. When Justice Yvette McGee Brown speaks, people listen. Throw in the fact that the Ohio State Bar Association rates her as "highly qualified" and you can see why I am excited to be at the top of the ticket with JUSTICE YVETTE McGEE BROWN.

Then there is SENATOR MICHAEL SKINDELL. A real live trial lawyer from Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) who has a rich history of standing up for the rights of the middle class. He practices law at FRIEDMAN, DOMIANO AND SMITH, one of the leading trial lawyer firms in the state. His labor credentials are impeccable, his heart has always been in the right place, and he is an awesome campaigner. He comes out of the house of Kucinich on the west side, and his contribution to the ticket cannot be overstated. SENATOR SKINDELL and I have been friends for twenty years, and I am ever so pleased that Justice O'Donnell has a worthy opponent. I wonder if the New York Times has started their analysis yet. Is it possible that the contributors to O'Donnell have exceeded the 91% success rate that was documented in 2006?

And then there is me. All I bring to the ticket is ten years as a Court of Appeals Judge...which is seven years more than my opponent; elected and re-elected in a five-county area; and two terms as PRESIDING JUDGE on a very busy Court. Oh yes. Did I mention that I am THE ONLY CANDIDATE running for the Supreme Court this year who has both appeared before the Court and sat on the Supreme Court at the invitation of the late great Chief Justice Tom Moyer? That's right folks, I have sat on the Supreme Court; I have decided 3,000 cases at the Court of Appeals level; I have served as lead counsel in over 100 trials; and I have represented real clients in multi-million dollar cases before the Supreme Court of Ohio. In short: my credentials as a lawyer and a Judge are not open to debate.

Next week will be a good time to talk issues. This week, let's just all welcome STATE SENATOR MICHAEL SKINDELL to the Democratic ticket for the Supreme Court of Ohio.

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