Forward Justice’s “Justice Pat DeWine”
Watch the ad:
In this ad, a voiceover says, “Justice Pat DeWine profits from a family trust run by his dad, Mike DeWine. Then, Pat DeWine uses his office to support his dad. Experts call it corruption. Dump Pat DeWine.”
Who's responsible for this ad?
The ad is paid for by Forward Justice, a SuperPAC. Its website describes its mission as the following:
“Across the country, elected state Supreme Courts are emerging as the final and most robust protector of democracy and mainstream values and the most important bulwark against a conservative U.S. Supreme Court’s attack on core rights. It is imperative that we continue making gains and winning these seats on the highest courts– particularly in states with Republican-gerrymandered legislatures. The highest priority in 2022 is the opportunity to secure a majority on the Ohio Supreme Court.”
The registration with the Federal Elections Commission provides only the barest amount of information and 2022 contributions to this new SuperPAC are not yet available. While Open Secrets has an overview of Forward Justice, the only information that it provides is that Forward Justice is a SuperPAC.
On Twitter, former Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party and the author of Laboratories of Autocracy: A Wake-Up Call from Behind the Lines David Pepper said that he is committed to raising at least $50,000 for this ad. Pepper made an argument similar to it in one of his Twitter whiteboard threads.
The Brennan Center for Justice’s Buying Time project has been tracking political spending in state Supreme Court races. Click here for information about political ads and spending in the Ohio Supreme Court races this year.
Click here for other ads from Forward Justice.
Discussion and Analysis
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine has repeatedly refused to remove himself from cases that involved his father, Mike DeWine, first when the older DeWine was Ohio Attorney General, and then when he became Ohio Governor.
Questions about recusal resurfaced when Mike DeWine became governor, particularly over lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of state legislative and congressional districts. The governor is a defendant in the cases since he sits on the seven-member Ohio Redistricting Commission that is responsible for drawing voting maps.
A bipartisan majority of the Ohio Supreme Court repeatedly tossed out a series of maps, saying they did not meet the constitutional parameters approved by Ohio voters. State legislative maps were determined to be unconstitutional gerrymanders five times and congressional maps twice. Gov. DeWine signed off on six of these maps.
In each case, Justice DeWine sided with his father and the other Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission who had voted for the maps.
Ohioans are voting in unconstitutional voting districts. The Ohio Supreme Court will continue to have a role in determining the constitutionality of district lines.
Click here for a timeline of redistricting.
Ohio’s redistricting fiasco highlights fragility of the rule of law underpinning our democracy, op-ed by Steven H. Steinglass, Cleveland.com/Plain Dealer, September 14, 2022