Earlier this week, Republican state Auditor Dave Yost called on Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill to step down. The criticism came from comments O’Neill made when he announced his intention to run for governor in 2018. O’Neill says he won’t give up his seat on the state’s highest court while running for the state’s top elected office.
In a written letter to the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Ohio, O’Neill said he will recuse himself from future cases until February 7th. That’s the date by which he must formally file if he intends to run for governor and step down from the bench. O’Neill says he wants to avoid any appearance of impropriety. But he says he will vote and participate in the nearly 100 cases that have been submitted and not yet released. And he says if he decides not to run for governor, after all, he will resume participating in all cases until his elected term ends in January 2019. O’Neill, the only Democrat on the court, cannot run for re-election because of age limits for that position. He also says he won’t run if Consumer Protection Bureau Chief Richard Cordray joins the race. There are already four Democrats in the primary for governor in May, but O’Neill says he doesn’t think any of them have enough name recognition to beat the eventual Republican nominee.