Bar Assoc. asks, but Democrat Supreme Court candidates refuse to denounce ads

The battle for the high court intensified yesterday as the Ohio State Bar Association condemned two independently sponsored ads benefitting candidates. Yesterday, the association took the unusual step of asking the groups that bought the first two independent ads of this year's campaign to pull them. But Democrat candidates Burnside and Black continue to refuse disavowal.

David Crago, head of the bar association's campaign-monitoring committee, criticized outside influences in both Supreme Court races, calling the ads "deceptive and misleading and, quite frankly, insulting to Ohio voters.''

"The attack is on the judicial integrity of all four candidates. The ad(s) smear everyone,'' said Crago, dean of Ohio Northern University Law School.

The first condemned ad was sponsored by Citizens for an Independent Court, a consortium of unions and trial lawyers. They support Democratic candidates Black and Burnside, who have refused calls to disavow these commercials.

The other ad condemned by the bar association, sponsored by Competition Ohio, was funded by AT&T and other groups critical of Ameritech's telephone rates. Upon learning of the ads, both GOP candidates quickly disavowed the commercial.

The stakes are especially high in the two judicial races because control of the court, which has become known for bitter 4-3 splits in key rulings, likely will be decided in the two weeks remaining until the Nov. 5 election. And TV ads will play a major role in how Ohioans vote, political consultants agree.

Read the entire story in the Columbus Dispatch (Subscriber site - paid access only).

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