Ohio AFL-CIO Endorses Brunner for Chief Justice
February 11, 2022 (COLUMBUS) — The Ohio AFL-CIO today endorsed Ohio Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Brunner in her campaign for Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court for Ohio’s statewide, November 8, 2022, election.
“Justice Jennifer Brunner has earned our endorsement for Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court because of her career-long and principled stand for the working people of this great state," said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga. "Time and again, Justice Brunner has shown that she has a steady hand in the administration of justice through her conduct and rulings from the bench,” he said. “We know we can rely on her to enforce our constitution and state laws to ensure economic and social justice for all Ohioans,” Burga said.
The Ohio AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in Ohio and consists of 1.1 million union members and retirees who are affiliated through 41 international unions and 1,500 local unions.
“I am grateful for the support of the Ohio AFL-CIO and its hard-working men and women who represent some of the best Ohio has to offer this nation,” Brunner said. “Labor unions represent people who collectively work together with their leaders to gain better working conditions and wages for work often taken for granted by the rest of society,” she said. “All Ohioans deserve justice, and that is why I am very pleased to receive this endorsement — our courts belong to the people.”
She noted, “The inspirational words carved on the front of the Ohio Judicial Center are poignant: ‘The Whole Fabric of Society Rests Upon Labor.’”
Brunner announced her candidacy in June and in September released a broad policy agenda and vision to lead the third branch of Ohio government. Her Republican opponent has not released any proposals for how she would lead the courts of Ohio, and she recently voted with the minority on the Ohio Supreme Court to uphold unconstitutionally gerrymandered legislative districts.
Brunner would become the first Democrat elected Chief Justice since 1978 and the first Democratic woman to ever serve as Chief Justice.
“I am running for Chief Justice because I care about the courts of our state — that they operate with impartiality and integrity, showing fairness to all who are affected by their work,” Brunner said. “As Chief Justice, I will exercise the power of the office to shape the administration of justice and the practice of law for the benefit and betterment of all Ohioans.”
The Ohio Constitution provides that the Chief Justice exercises superintendence of the Ohio judicial system according to the high court’s rules. Brunner is the only other member of the court other than the current Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who holds experience managing a statewide office and network of local offices throughout the state, as Ohio’s 152nd Secretary of State.
Among other extraordinary powers, the Chief Justice:
- Decides on motions for disqualification for judges on the lower courts when parties assert the judge has a conflict.
- Assigns visiting judges and justices to hear cases when a judge or justice is disqualified or otherwise unable to hear cases.
- Appoints the judges to the Ohio Court Claims, which has exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases involving plaintiffs seeking money damages against state entities.
Brunner was elected as an Associate Justice in November 2020, defeating incumbent Justice Judith French 55.3% to 44.7% garnering 2.69 million votes statewide. She won 14 of Ohio’s 16 Congressional districts, including 10 Republican Congressional districts. Brunner has never lost a general election.
Previously she served as a judge of the Tenth District Court of Appeals and the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. As a trial court judge Brunner founded the county’s adult felony drug court, known as the TIES (Treatment is Essential to Success) Program, now in its 17th year of operation. She served as Ohio’s first and only female Secretary of State from 2007-2011, earning the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, the nation’s most prestigious award for elected public servants.
This is the latest in a series of endorsements Brunner has already received, including:
- Region 2B, United Auto Workers, Ohio State UAW Community Action Program Council, representing an additional 96,000 members
- OAPSE/AFSCME, Ohio Association of Public School Employees
- United Steelworkers (USW) District 1
- Dayton Building and Construction Trades Council
- Iron Workers Local Union No. 550, Canton
- Laborers’ International Union of North America, Lorain County Local 758
- Laborers Local Union No. 894, Akron
- Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local No. 860, Cleveland