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Judge Black recuses himself from Planned Parenthood case; Judge Barrett assigned

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Barrett will take over a Planned Parenthood lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Health after Judge Timothy Black removed himself from the case.

Black, an appointee of President Obama, was director of Planned Parenthood of Cincinnati from 1986 to 1989; and served as its president in 1988.

Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati objected to Black hearing the case, saying Black’s past involvement with Planned Parenthood was a conflict of interest.

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a new Ohio law which prevents abortion surgery centers from partnering with public hospitals. It ended a patient transfer agreement Planned Parenthood’s Elizabeth Campbell Surgery Center had with the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Barrett, an appointee of President George W. Bush, was reassigned the case after Black recused himself Saturday. Judges are randomly selected to hear before the U.S. District Court.

A schedule for the lawsuit is expected to be set later this week.

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.