Kani Hightower, a Democrat, is running for judge of the Summit County Domestic Relations Court, a position opened by the retirement of Judge John Quinn, also a Democrat. Hightower’s opponent is Katarina Cook, a Republican, who already holds the other seat on the court. Cook’s term ends in 2022 after her 2016 election. In effect, Cook is running for a job she already holds. Why on earth would she do that?
Cook says she is running for the other judgeship to give her another six years to develop a program she created at the Court. Balderdash. She’s had four years to do that work and another two left in her term. If she can do a good job with the program by the 2022 election, the voters can approve of her work. If not, they can throw her out. That’s why we have elections.
No, this is pure, fierce, partisan politics at its most cynical. If Cook wins the other judgeship, she will resign her own. The Republican governor will then appoint a Republican to complete Cook’s current term. This assures that the Domestic Relations bench will be locked down by the Republican Party, rather than shared by both parties. It also means the new Republican appointee will then be able to run with the advantage of incumbency. This deprives the people of Summit County of the right to make their own decision about who should fill that seat, without undue influence from the governor.
I urge all to reject this disgraceful maneuver. Vote for Hightower, a highly qualified candidate.
Bill Jordan, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Akron School of Law