GREENVILLE — Judge Pat DeWine was in Greenville Saturday to meet with local Republicans and help open the Darke County GOP headquarters.
DeWine currently serves on the First District Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati. His previous experience includes time as judge on the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, on the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, and on the Cincinnati City Council. He has also practiced private law.
He is the oldest son of eight children to current Ohio Attorney General and former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine. He and his wife Rhonda live in Cincinnati where they are the proud parents of five children.
DeWine, 48, hopes to gain support for his November 8 bid for a six-year term as a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court.
“I’m someone who’s a constitutional conservative, who believes judges ought to apply the laws as written, not legislate from the bench,” he told The Daily Advocate. “If you believe that, the place where you make the biggest difference in Ohio, is the Ohio Supreme Court, because that’s the court of last resort, the court that sets the precedents for the other courts in Ohio.”
“No one running for the [Ohio] Supreme Court has broader experience than I do, having been both a trial and appellate judge,” he explained.
DeWine’s opponent in the race is Democrat Cynthia Westcott Rice, Appellate Court Judge for the Eleventh District Court of Appeals. The two are seeking to replace retiring Justice Paul Pfeifer, prevented from running again due to age limitations.
The Ohio State Bar Association’s Commission on Judicial Candidates voted Rice as “highly recommended,” while giving DeWine a “not recommended” rating.
In response to the commission’s rating, DeWine told The Lima News, “I believe that [the OSBA rating] was completely political. I think you just simply have to take a look at my résumé. I rate myself highly on those topics.”
A second open seat on the Ohio Supreme Court is being contested by Republican Pat Fischer and Democrat John P. O’Donnell.
Though seeking to be a new voice on the highest court in the state, DeWine says he has no major complaints with the performance of the court, of late.
“I think the court has done a pretty decent job in the last few years, not legislating from the bench, but that hasn’t always been the case,” he said. “With the changes that are coming with these open seats, it could easily go back to having a much more activist court.”
“My opponent says she believes in a ‘living constitution,’ which basically means that judges pick and choose as they please,” he added.
When asked to describe what temperament is needed to be a judge, DeWine said, “I think a judge needs to be someone who treats everyone with respect. The judge also needs to be someone who makes sure that his or her courtroom is run properly. There’s certain things you’re not going to tolerate in a courtroom, a certain level of decorum. I think a judge has to do both those things.”
DeWine hopes his campaign will appeal both to Republican and non-Republican voters alike.
“What I tell people is that if you have my philosophy of sticking to the constitution and law as it’s written, that’s really the only way that you achieve fairness and justice,” he said. “If you do that, you’re applying the same rules to everyone. And I think that’s what people want from the court — just to apply the same rules to everyone. If you have an activist judge who changes the rules based upon the situation, that means that not everyone is getting treated the same way in our courts.”
Voters can learn more about Judge Pat DeWine at his campaign website www.patdewine.com.