Judge DeGenaro of Poland appointed to Ohio Supreme Court


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

COLUMBUS

Gov. John Kasich selected Judge Mary DeGenaro of Poland, who served on the Youngstown-based 7th District Court of Appeals, to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Judge DeGenaro, a Republican, will succeed Justice Bill O’Neill, the lone Democrat on the state’s high court, who is resigning today to run for his party’s nomination for governor. Judge DeGenaro’s term will officially begin Sunday, according to a Supreme Court statement. It expires Jan. 1, 2019.

“I am mindful of and humbled by the responsibility [Kasich] has given me on behalf of all the citizens of the state of Ohio,” she said Thursday. “I will work diligently, fairly and collegially with the other justices on the court. I will do my part to make sure the public continues to have confidence in their Supreme Court.”

Judge DeGenaro added: “I am excited for the opportunity to serve all 88 counties of this state we love with my new colleagues on the Ohio Supreme Court.”

Judge DeGenaro was expected to receive the Republican governor’s appointment as she is the party’s endorsed candidate in the November election for the seat with a six-year term. She was among three people who applied to Kasich to replace Justice O’Neill.

“Judge DeGenaro is a distinguished legal thinker and I am proud to appoint her to the Supreme Court,” Kasich said. “She is an accomplished judge with a record of working constructively with colleagues and she has served with distinction as a visiting justice to the Supreme Court on several occasions. Her command of the law is strong and she brings a conservative philosophy to the court that is evident in her 17-year record on the appellate bench.”

Judge DeGenaro, a Cuyahoga County native, has spent her entire legal career in Mahoning County. She will become the first sitting judge from Mahoning County on the state Supreme Court since Paul W. Brown, who also sat on the 7th District Court of Appeals bench, served from 1964 to 1968. He resigned to become state attorney general.

Supreme Court Justice Judith French is a Sebring native, but spent her legal career in Franklin County.

Judge DeGenaro was first elected to the 7th District seat in 2000 after 14 years in private practice. She was re-elected in 2006 and 2012.

She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Youngstown State University in 1983 and a law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1986. She was admitted to Ohio bar in 1986.

The 7th District includes Mahoning, Columbiana, Belmont, Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe and Noble counties. All but Judge Carol Ann Robb are from Mahoning County. Judge Robb is from Columbiana County.

Kasich also will appoint Judge DeGenaro’s successor to the 7th District Court of Appeals at a later date.

Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court appears to have the edge on getting that appointment as she has already announced plans to run as a Republican for the appeals seat Judge DeGenaro is vacating.

If that happens, Kasich also would appoint a replacement for Judge Sweeney on the common pleas bench.

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