The Ohio State Bar Association voted to “not recommend” state Rep. Tom Letson of Warren for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.
“They’re entitled to their opinions,” said Letson, D-64th. “I’d certainly like everyone to like me, but everyone views people through their own lenses.”
Letson’s general election opponent, Justice Sharon Kennedy, a Republican, declined to participate in the bar association’s ratings. In 2012, she was the first Supreme Court candidate to not be recommended by the state bar association in 14 years. Despite that, she was elected to the high court.
“This puts me in the same boat as Sharon Kennedy the first time,” Letson said. “It tells you something. I am happy to sit down with my colleagues at the bar and discuss my qualifications.”
A 25-member panel of the bar associate evaluates each of the Supreme Court candidates based on legal knowledge and ability, professional competence, judicial temperament, integrity, diligence, personal responsibility, and public/community service.
Those who receive favorable evaluations from less than 60 percent of the members are rated “not qualified” and are considered not suited to perform the duties and responsibilities of supreme court justice, according to the association.
The association voted Justice Judith French, the Republican incumbent, and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John O’Donnell, her Democratic opponent, in the other Supreme Court race as “highly recommended.”
Letson faces a misdemeanor charge filed in August 2013 by Warren city officials for violating the zoning code. He owns a house on Foster Street Northeast in a single-family residentially zoned neighborhood; the house is being used as a “sober house” for recovering alcoholics. The city contends that use requires zoning for a rooming house. His next appearance in Warren Municipal Court is Thursday.