Pat DeWine

As Ohio’s recent Republican-dominated redistricting process bungles on, any Ohioan who has been paying attention has probably realized the importance of our state’s Supreme Court. Thanks to Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor siding with the court’s three Democratic justices, the uber-gerrymandered Statehouse and congressional maps that the Ohio Redistricting Commission recently passed (along party lines) have now been found to be unconstitutional not once, but THRICE. This rightful rejection of gerrymandering –– as well as the correct protection of Ohio’s new redistricting laws, which are enshrined in our constitution due to their respective 2015 and 2018 ballot initiatives –– has thankfully put the spotlight onto Ohio’s vital (but often forgotten!) third branch of government.

Now, one would assume that when it comes to the impartial interpretation of justice, such a rejection of unconstitutional behavior by anyone in power in Ohio’s other two branches of government –– our state legislature, which is run by a Republican supermajority, as well as our executive branch, which is composed of five offices all held by Republicans –– would be praised. Instead, as has been the case in the GOP lately, Ohio’s Republicans have been postulating about perversions of justice, from calling for the impeachment of Chief Justice O’Connor, to pushing for a takeover of the court in the upcoming 2022 elections. Naturally, their logic rejects the very idea of checks and balances, but the more shocking aspect of this “logic” is that the other Republican justices on the court agree with it.

Yes, even though they’ve made up the dissenting minority in all of the redistricting cases so far, Justices Pat Fischer, Sharon Kennedy and Pat DeWine have argued that the Supreme Court doesn’t even have the jurisdiction to preside over the redistricting process. This means they think the Commission –– which is made up of legislative leaders and three executive officers –– can run afoul of the law as it sees fit, Ohio’s constitution be damned. Again, while this logic spits in the very face of checks and balances, it also underlies why the Supreme Court elections are so vital this year, as the impartial carrying out of justice now hangs in the balance. Not only are Kennedy, Fischer and DeWine wrong in their interpretation of our new redistricting laws and Ohio’s constitution, but they are all up for election this year.

While Kennedy is running for O’Connor’s position as Chief Justice –– because O’Connor is unable to seek another term due to Ohio’s age limits for justices –– she is still guaranteed a seat on the court whether she wins or loses. However, both Fischer and DeWine are running for reelection this year and one of these two “Pats” is slightly more vulnerable than the other. If Pat DeWine’s last name sounds familiar, it’s because he is indeed the son of Governor Mike DeWine, who also sits on Ohio’s Redistricting Commission. This obvious conflict of interest has not been lost on voting rights activists or the media, but folks should also understand how Pat DeWine ended up on Ohio’s highest court, because let’s face it –– his daddy’s name and money certainly played a role, despite Pat’s several shortcomings.

For example, Pat’s political rise was riddled with scandal. His first foray into politics was when he ran for Cincinnati City Council, a race he won three times, albeit finishing in sixth place in two of those elections. He then used this exposure to run for Hamilton County Commissioner –– a race he won –– before immediately running for Rob Portman’s old congressional seat in 2005. Unfortunately, this is when serious allegations of infidelity plagued ol’ Pat and lost him the race. According to sources, Pat left his first wife while she was pregnant with their third child for an African-American lobbyist named Betty Hull, which became a huge campaign issue in the racially segregated suburbs of Southwest Ohio, thus causing him to eventually lose the primary to Jean Schmidt.

Pat would later leave Betty as well and made his way through Ohio politics by getting elected to lesser known offices like Hamilton County’s Court of Common Pleas and the District Courts of Appeals before running for Ohio’s Supreme Court in 2016 –– a race where he wasn’t even “recommended” by the Ohio Bar Association. During this span of time, Pat married his second wife (Rhonda Dayton DeWine) in 2010 until he reportedly cheated on her as well, ending in a messy divorce in 2019. So apparently Pat DeWine isn’t just the most unqualified Supreme Court Justice, he’s also the horniest! Add to this mix the fact that he earned his law degree from the University of Michigan, and you have yet another DeWine who Democrats, conservative Republicans, impartial Independents and Buckeye fans alike can all dislike.

After all, a perverted perversion of justice is not something we need on Ohio’s Supreme Court.