There were three seats on the Supreme Court of Ohio up for grabs in Tuesday’s election. Justices Judy Lanzinger and Paul Pfeifer could not run again because of age, so those were open seats. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor had no opponent.
While the Republican dominance of the Supreme Court did not change with the election results, its gender make-up did. Right now, the court has a female majority, but with the retirement of Justice Lanzinger, the only way that could have continued would have been for Judge Cynthia Rice—the only woman running—to defeat Judge Pat DeWine, and she did not. When Judge DeWine won the race, that flipped the gender balance to 4-3 male. (At the time of this post, Judge Pat Fischer was leading in his race against Judge John O’Donnell for the other open seat, but that race is presently too close to call. Absentee and provisional ballets still need to be counted in that one. Regardless, the outcome of that race won’t affect the court’s gender balance.)
The Supreme Court of Ohio has had a female majority since January 1, 2011, when then-Justice Yvette McGee Brown was appointed to the court, joining Chief Justice O’Connor, and Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton and Judy Lanzinger. In 2012, Justice Sharon Kennedy defeated McGee Brown in the election, and Stratton retired at year’s end, replaced by Justice Judy French, thus keeping court’s majority pink.
In case you are wondering who the first woman was on the Supreme Court of Ohio, it was Florence Allen, elected in 1922. After that, Ohio didn’t see another woman elected to the Supreme Court until 1988, when Alice Robie Resnick won a seat on the state high court. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is the court’s first and only female chief justice.