6th Circuit Rejects Challenge to Ohio Law Keeping Partisan Information of Judicial Candidates Off Ballot


Ohio elects its state judges through a hybrid process. Judicial candidates are first selected through partisan primary elections. On the general-election ballot, however, their names show no partisan affiliation, even though judicial candidates may affiliate with political parties throughout the entirety of their campaigns. The plaintiffs—the Ohio Democratic Party, three individuals who were candidates for state-court judgeships in the 2010 election, and a statewide labor organization—brought suit below challenging the constitutionality of the Ohio law that precludes the inclusion of judicial candidate party affiliations on the general-election ballot. While the plaintiffs argue that Ohio’s electoral system burdens their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, the burden is minimal and is outweighed by Ohio’s interest in minimizing partisanship in judicial elections. Consequently, the district court correctly granted the Ohio Attorney General’s motion for summary judgment.


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