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Ohio Supreme Court Justice Speaks at a Pro-Life Fundraiser, Eliciting Calls for Recusal

photo of Sharon Kennedy
OHIO SUPREME COURT
Justice Kennedy has served on Ohio's highest court since 2012. In mid-March, the court agreed to hear two cases involving a Toledo abortion clinic.

The state’s leading abortion rights group is asking an Ohio Supreme Court justice to remove herself from two cases involving abortion providers. 

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy spoke last week at a fundraiser for Greater Toledo Right to Life. The state high court will hear cases later this year involving a Toledo abortion clinic’s fight with the state over transfer agreements and abortion restrictions in the 2013 state budget. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio spokesman Gabriel Mann says Kennedy needs to recuse herself from hearing those cases.

“If she’s participating in fundraisers for right-to- life organizations, she’s lost the ability to be impartial in a case that might come before her about Ohio abortion clinics,” Mann says.

In an op-ed, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor defended Kennedy, saying she spoke only about the workings of the court system and that the criticism of her is unfair.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.