COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Tuesday, Ohio House Speaker Robert Cupp, R-Lima, said any talk about impeaching Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will have to wait until after redistricting lawsuits settle.
What You Need To Know
- Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose recently told a group of Republicans he “would not oppose” the General Assembly impeaching Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor
- Ohio House Speaker Robert Cupp, R-Lima, said any talk about impeaching Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will have to wait until after redistricting lawsuits settle
- O’Connor ruled against Republicans in nearly every step of the way, involving legislative and congressional district maps submitted to the Ohio Supreme Court
Last Friday, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose told a group of Republicans he “would not oppose” the General Assembly impeaching O’Connor after she sided with democratic justices throughout the redistricting process.
“I think that she has not upheld her oath of office, and that, to me, is a basic test of a public servant,” LaRose told the Union County Republican Party. “That’s up to the state legislature whether they want to impeach the chief justice or not. I certainly wouldn’t oppose it. I don’t know if it’ll solve our current problem because the impeachment process would take a couple of months and we’re going to need to have district lines way before then.”
Tuesday morning, Spectrum News 1 asked LaRose if it would set a bad precedent to have the state legislature impeach a justice over a ruling they disagree with. Spectrum News also asked, if not, would he support impeachment against all four justices who have rejected the commission’s maps.
LaRose responded with the following:
“You know, when I was out in Marysville on Friday speaking to a small gathering of Republican supporters, I made it clear that this is up to the state legislature. There are 99 reps and 33 senators. The people’s representatives and senators get to choose whether they believe the chief justice or any other justice has performed their job in a way that is worthy of keeping them or impeaching them. Again, it’s a rare thing to happen. But that’s up to the state legislature. And all I said is that I wouldn’t oppose that if that was what the state legislature chose to do. I said my personal opinion is that the court, not only the chief justice, but this ‘four member liberal majority’ that we have on the Supreme Court has, you know, started to make things up that are not in the Constitution instead of reading the plain black and white text of the Ohio Constitution. And that concerns me. To me, they are not operating within the oath of their office. But again, that’s up to the state legislature to decide. Either way, that’s not the matter in front of us right now. What we need to do is get maps in place that comply with what the court’s order are or, for that matter, will pass muster with this federal three-judge panel that’s also reviewing the matter.”
O’Connor ruled against Republicans in nearly every step of the way, involving legislative and congressional district maps submitted to the Ohio Supreme Court. Cupp previously said impeaching O’Connor was a bad idea, but there is increasing interest on the matter in his caucus.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to impeach anybody unless they’ve, you know, violated the Constitution or whatever the trigger is,” Cupp said. “And so I think the jury’s still out on that.”
Cupp reiterated, “I said I think the jury’s still out on that,” when pressed if he thought O’Connor violated her oath of office.
Meanwhile, Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, said politically charged impeachments based on disagreements had no place in the redistricting proceedings.
“Secretary LaRose doesn’t have a say in impeachment proceedings, and I think his words were a politically convenient flip flop, and I adamantly oppose impeachment,” Russo said. “If we spent time pursuing impeachment proceedings around here for everyone that we disagreed with, this place would be pretty sparse.”
The seven justices on the court currently are considering whether the latest legislative and congressional district maps are constitutional.
O’Connor’s term ends at the end of the year. She cannot run again due to age limits.