Democrats choose anti-gun former legislator as Ohio Supreme Court candidate

by Chad D. Baus

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the Ohio Democratic Party has endorsed state Sen. Michael Skindell to run against Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell (R), a 2012 Buckeye Firearms Association endorsee, in the Nov. 6 election.

From the article:

Skindell, who served in the Ohio House from 2003 to 2010 and on the Lakewood City Council for four years, will be on the statewide ballot in place of Austintown lawyer Robert W. Price, who dropped out of the race this month.

Skindell, 49, is in the second year of his first four-year term in the state Senate. He has no judicial experience but did serve as a hearing officer for the Ohio Department of Health from 1989 to 1999. He also was an assistant attorney general in 1987-89 under the late Attorney General Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr.

In an interview, Skindell said he thought about running last year for a state appellate court seat in Cleveland but opted against it to ensure he would be able "to express my opinions" on issues facing the Senate this year.

Skindell said he is confident he can raise enough money to be competitive, noting that O'Donnell does not appear to be way ahead in fundraising. O’Donnell’s latest campaign-finance report showed him with $120,024 on hand.

"I think I can put it in high speed to raise the funds," Skindell said.

In a statement, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert T. Bennett said Skindell's "left-wing ideology makes him unfit" for the Supreme Court, adding that "Democrats unearthed a candidate with no judicial experience whatsoever."

But Skindell noted that former state Sen. Paul Pfeifer had no judicial experience before joining the Supreme Court in 1993...

As a state representative, Skindell voted against Ohio's original concealed carry reform law, as well as "Statewide Preemption" of local gun control laws, "Castle Doctrine," and "Restaurant Carry." Skindell also signed on as a co-sponsor of a gun control bill that would have prevented adults 18 - 21 years of age to own a long gun.

It is ironic that Skindell chose Republican Paul Pfeifer as an example of another justice who had no prior experience before being placed on the high court, given that he is also extremely anti-gun.

Indeed, in 2010, when the City of Cleveland's challenge to Ohio's preemption law was struck down by the high court 5-2, Pfeifer wrote the dissenting opinion. And back in 2003, Pfeifer wrote the majority opinion upholding the state's then-144 year-old ban on concealed carry, triggering the organization of open carry Defense Walks around the state, and the eventual passage of Ohio's concealed carry law, which Skindell voted against. In that opinion, Pfeifer somehow equated lawful concealed carry to "the annoyance and terror and danger of its citizens" referred to in a 1900 Supreme Court case State v. Hogan, which also stated that the Ohio Bill of Rights "was never intended as a warrant for vicious persons to carry weapons with which to terrorize others."

It would appear from his voting record that Skindell's comparison of himself to Pfeifer is quite apropos.

The Dispatch article notes that anti-gun Justice Yvette McGee Brown (D), who was appointed by the out-going Gov. Ted Strickland to fill a vacancy in January 2010, is also running for election in November.

Buckeye Firearms Association has announced endorsements in the various Ohio Supreme Court races. Click here for details.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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