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Women in the Ohio Judiciary

As of the 2016 election:

  • Out of the 34 Court of Common Pleas judges in Cuyahoga County, 16 (47%) are women.
  • Out of the 68 Ohio District Court of Appeals judges, 31 (46%) are women.
  • Out of the 7 Ohio Supreme Court justices, 3 are women.
  • Out of the 158 Ohio Supreme Court justices elected since statehood, 10 (6%) have been women.

In 2002, Ohio became the third state in the nation to have a female majority (4 of 7) on its state high court. This majority did not last long, as Justice Deborah Cook left to serve on the US Court of Appeals in 2003.  However, women were in the majority again from 2011 to 2016.

Florence Allen: Trail-Blazer in Ohio and the Nation

Florence Allen swearing in

Florence Allen was the first woman ever elected to a judicial office in the nation, when she successfully ran for the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas in 1920. Two years later, in 1922, she ran for the Ohio Supreme Court and won, making her the first woman in the nation to serve on a state high court. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her to a U.S. Court of Appeals, making her the first woman to serve on the federal bench.
Photo: Cleveland Public Library

Women Who Have Served on the Ohio Supreme Court

Florence Allen

Florence Allen

First elected in 1922
Left in 1934 to serve on U.S. Court of Appeals
First woman on the court
Photo: Cleveland Public Library

Blanche Krupnaski

Blanche Krupanski

Appointed in 1981 by Governor Rhodes
Lost 1982 election
Served on all 4 levels of Ohio judicial system
Photo: Columbus Citizen Journal/www.photohio.org

Alice Robie Resnick

Alice Robie Resnick

First elected in 1988
Did not seek reelection in 2006
Founder of Task Force on Gender Fairness
Photo: Ohio Supreme Court

Deborah Cook

Deborah Cook

First elected in 1994
Left in 2003 to serve on U.S. Court of Appeals
As attorney, first female partner at her firm
Photo: Ohio Supreme Court

Evelyn Stratton

Evelyn Stratton

Appointed in 1996
Retired in 2012 before term expired
Founder of Advisory Committee on Mental Illness & the Courts
Photo: Ohio Supreme Court

Maureen O'Connor

Maureen O'Connor

First elected in 2002 (still serving)
Became first female chief justice in 2011
Served as Ohio Lieutenant Governor
Photo: Ohio Supreme Court

Judith Lanzinger

Judith Lanzinger

First elected in 2004
Retired in 2016 (aged out)
Served on all 4 levels of Ohio judicial system
Photo: Ohio Supreme Court

Yvette McGee Brown

Yvette McGee Brown

Appointed in 2011
Lost 2012 election to Sharon Kennedy
First African American woman on high court
Photo: Ohio Supreme Court

Sharon Kennedy

Sharon Kennedy

First elected in 2012 (still serving)
Won all 88 counties in her reelection campaign
Began career as police officer
Photo: Ohio Supreme Court

Judith French

Judith French

Appointed in 2012 (still serving)
As Assistant Attorney General, argued 2 cases at U.S. Supreme Court
Photo: Ohio Supreme Court

History by the Numbers

Women Running for Ohio Supreme Court, 1922 - 2016 (download Excel file)
This file includes data on female candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court from 1922 (the first year women were elected to the high court) to 2016. Justices run for election every six years. Election of the seven members is staggered, so all of the justices are not up for reelection at the same time. 

Biographical data on Female State Supreme Court Justices (download Excel file)
This file includes data on all of the women who have served on the state supreme court and their lower court experience. 

Things to know about Ohio's Judiciary

All judges serve for 6-year terms, with mandatory retirement at age 70. Judges are allowed to finish the term during which they turn 70.

Ohio elects its judges using a method not used in any other state. Judicial candidates first run in a partisan primary, usually in the spring. The winners of these primaries then run in a non-partisan general election in the fall, with no party label after their name. 

If Ohio Supreme Court justices leave before their terms expire, the governor appoints replacements to fill the unexpired term. 

More information on the structure of Ohio’s courts