Thursday, October 22, 2009
The web page of the Ohio Supreme Court notes:
A recent advisory opinion from the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline advises judicial candidates to be specific when referencing a political party endorsement in person or in advertising.
Opinion 2009-8 addresses the following question: “Is it proper for a judicial candidate to use the phrase ‘Democratic Party Endorsed’ or ‘Republican Party Endorsed’ in judicial campaign advertisements, such as on billboards or yard signs?”
The opinion finds that: “Throughout a judicial campaign, a judicial candidate may truthfully state in person or in advertising that he or she is ‘Endorsed by (or a nominee of) the Democratic Party’ or ‘Democratic Party Endorsed (or nominee)’ or ‘Endorsed by (or a nominee of) the Republican Party’ or ‘Republican Party Endorsed (or nominee)’; provided that the phrase identifies which political party entity endorsed the candidate, for example, the county, state, or national Democratic or Republican Party.”
The opinion also notes that a judicial candidate’s statement that he or she is a nominee of or endorsed by a political party is treated differently under the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct than a judicial candidate’s statement that he or she is a member of or affiliated with a political party.
Several examples of case law refer to endorsement statements found to be either false; or were truthful, but misleading or deceiving, pursuant to Judicial Conduct rules.