Ohio State Bar Association Commission on Judicial Candidates announces Ohio Supreme Court candidate ratings for the 2018 Election

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Maggie Ostrowski

(614) 487-4425 or mostrowski@ohiobar.org

Columbus (Aug. 14, 2018) – The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Commission on Judicial Candidates today released its ratings for the 2018 General Election following a thorough evaluation of those seeking election this year to the Supreme Court of Ohio.

The 24-member, bipartisan panel chaired by OSBA Past-President Martin E. Mohler, Esq. scored each candidate according to their legal knowledge and ability, professional competence, judicial temperament, integrity and diligence, personal responsibility, as well as their public and community service. (Please see the attached description of the standards applied in each category). Out of 30 possible points, candidates receiving a total composite score of 25 or higher, based upon their average scores in each category, earned a rating of "Highly Recommended." A score between 19 and 24 would garner a rating of "Recommended." And those earning 18 or less, would be deemed "Qualified by Statute." Each candidate was scored on an individual basis, without regard to whom they were facing on the November ballot.

The ratings and scores are as follows:

Judge Craig Baldwin was rated Highly Recommended, with a score of 25.

Justice Mary DeGenaro was rated Highly Recommended, with a score of 27.

Judge Michael Donnelly was rated Highly Recommended, with a score of 26.

Judge Melody Stewart was rated Highly Recommended, with a score of 29.

Scores were informed by an independent evaluation of the candidates by the Commission, including a written questionnaire and resume, as well as a review of each candidates' decisions, writings, publications, letters of reference, docket reports, financial disclosure statements and other public records. Lawyers, judges and other citizens familiar with each candidate's reputation, past performance and qualifications were consulted as part of the vetting. And finally, each candidate was interviewed individually by the Commission.​

"When it comes to judicial elections, though judges make decisions that affect our everyday lives in countless ways, voters consistently report that they do not know enough about the candidates to make an informed decision." Chairman Mohler said. "The OSBA has established this thorough and independent process in order to provide more context and good information to members of the bar as well as the public about the qualifications of the candidates seeking a seat on our state's highest court."

Members of the Commission are attorneys in good standing and members of the OSBA. They have been appointed by the President of the OSBA with the advice and consent of the OSBA Board of Governors. In order to be representative of the OSBA's full membership, one member is chosen from each of the association's 18 geographic districts, along with six at-large members to account for diversity. The Commission is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, and none may have connections with the campaigns of the judges being evaluated. Current members of the Board of Governors are not eligible to serve.

"I want to thank each of the candidates, the members of the Commission, and the OSBA for their commitment and contributions to promoting a better-informed electorate this November," Mohler said. 

In addition to providing ratings of candidates for Supreme Court of Ohio, the OSBA is a cosponsor of JudicialVotesCount.org, which provides non-partisan, biographical information on candidates for judge at every level, from the Supreme Court of Ohio to courts of appeals, common pleas courts, as well as municipal and county courts.

In addition, through its Judicial Election Campaign Advertising Monitoring Committee (JECAMC), the OSBA also keeps an eye on political advertising in Supreme Court races to ensure the candidates as well as outside organizations are held to the highest standards as outlined in Canon 4 of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct. Just last week, the Committee announced that all four candidates for the Supreme Court of Ohio in 2018 had signed the JECAMC "Clean Campaign" pledge.

About the Ohio State Bar Association

The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 26,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice. 


Standards Applied by the Commission on Judicial Candidates in Arriving at Composite Scores


Legal Knowledge & Ability (Scale: 1-5)

A candidate should possess a high degree of knowledge of established legal principles and procedures and have a high degree of ability to interpret and apply them to specific factual situations.

Professional Competence (Scale: 1-5)

Professional competence includes intellectual capacity, professional and personal judgment​, writing and analytical ability, knowledge of the law and breadth of professional experience, including courtroom and trial experience. Candidates for appellate judgeships should further demonstrate scholarly writing and academic talent, and the ability to write to develop a coherent body of law.

Judicial Temperament (Scale: 1-5)

A candidate should possess a judicial temperament, which includes common sense, compassion, decisiveness, firmness, humility, open-mindedness, patience, tact and understanding.

Integrity & Diligence (Scale: 1-5)

The candidate should be of high moral character and enjoy a general reputation in the community for honesty and industry.

Personal Responsibility (Scale: 1-5)

A candidate should be responsible in his or her personal life, including being financially responsible, abiding by the laws of this state and this country, and being committed to the fulfillment of tasks and duties in past positions.

Public & Community Service (Scale: 1-5)

Consideration should be given to a candidate's previous service, including professional activities, public service and civic and community activities.



Staff Directory

Contact Information


8 A.M. - 5 P.M.
Monday - Friday