Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Friday, July 14

Sup Ct: O'Neill (D) Meets the Bloggers

Appellate Judge William O'Neill (D-South Russell), who is running for the Ohio Supreme Court without accepting any campaign contributions at all, did a Meet the Bloggers interview this morning at Talkies Film & Coffee Bar on Market Avenue in Cleveland. His unique campaign is not quixotic whimsy but a compelling implementation of his bedrock conviction that money and judges don't mix, and that Supreme Court seats should not be bought and sold like stock market seats. Few would disagree with his premises, but O'Neill is the only judge ever (so far as I can determine) to put these principles into practice by refusing to accept campaign cash in a statewide election.
I have blogged about O'Neill's background and qualifications recently, so I will not try to summarize that part of our discussion today. Our conversation roamed freely to O'Neill's experiences in Vietnam, as a government attorney, and as a pediatric emergency room nurse, a pursuit that he took on fairly recently in response to "an inner voice" that told him "there's got to be more in life," reacting to the fact that as a judge he "surrounds himself with angry adults."

O'Neill said that he decided to run for the Supreme Court at the funeral of former attorney general Anthony Celebrezze, Jr, while thinking about how Celebrezze had given young Democrats like himself two things: (1) a start in politics, and (2) someone to admire. Not having come from a background of politics or money, and having achieved success, he felt that he could not rest on his accomplishments but must give back more.

O'Neill said that his goal as a Supreme Court Justice would be to restore balance to the court. He sharply criticized the three sitting Justices (including his opponent, Terrence O'Donnell (R)) who have put into escrow illegal campaign contributions connected to disgraced Republican fundraiser Tom Noe.

Jill of the great blog Writes Like She Talks became very animated discussing O'Neill's proposal to use a $10 filing fee from each of the 3 million lawsuits filed in Ohio every year to out $30 million each year into a Judicial Selection Fund to take the place of campaign contributions to judges.

One big key to O'Neill's chances for success is his flyer, which states his message in plain and compelling language. He has been printing this flyer in his garage, with the goal of distributing it to one million people by Labor Day, largely through the efforts of volunteers.

Although he will not accept campaign contributions, O'Neill seeks volunteers willing to donate their time, and he has no objection to campaign efforts by others on his behalf. Readers who want to help can register to volunteer and/or download an "O'Neill for Justice" sign from his web site, and you can also download a copy of his flyer in ".pdf" format here to print and distribute to family and friends.

UPDATE: A cleaner vresion of the flyer in Microsoft Word format can be downloaded here.


At 9:12 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Thanks for the MTB wrap-ups. But did you really have to publish that picture of me? Oooo.


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