Friday, April 4, 2003

Four local judges on high court list

By Shelley Davis
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

COLUMBUS - Four Cincinnati-area judges and lawyers are among 11 applicants for the Ohio Supreme Court seat likely to be vacated by Justice Deborah Cook:

• Judge Stephen Powell of the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown.

• Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon of Hamilton County Juvenile Court.

• Judge Mark Painter of the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

• Ernest Fuller McAdams, Cincinnati's city prosecutor.

It's not clear when a candidate will be chosenGov. Bob Taft has said he will appoint a new justice only after Cook is confirmed for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Cook's nomination has already been approved by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, but the confirmation has been delayed by a clash in the Senate over the nomination of Miguel Estrada, President Bush's nominee to the District of Columbia's Appeals Court.

Taft's chief of staff, Brian Hicks, and his chief counsel, Judy French, are reviewing the applications and will narrow the list within two or three weeks, said Orest Holubec, Taft's spokesman.

The governor is looking at the applicants' judicial experience, what kinds of decisions they've made and how likely they are to be elected by voters, Holubec said.

After being appointed by the governor, the justice would face election in 2004 to one of four seats on the seven-member court that would be on the ballot.

The seat will almost certainly be filled by a candidate who shares Taft's beliefs, said John Holschuh, president of the Cincinnati Bar Association.

"He's probably going to want someone who is aligned with his political thoughts and his ideology," Holschuh said.

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