Supreme Court hopeful makes her case to Allen County GOP

May 3—LIMA — With much of the attention concerning this year's election centered on the presidential race or the race for U.S. Senate, one candidate was in Lima on Friday to call attention to a race that is farther down the ballot but still carries great significance for Ohio voters: the Ohio Supreme Court.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Shanahan was the keynote speaker at the Allen County Republican Party luncheon Friday at the Lima Eagles. Shanahan is hoping to unseat current Ohio Supreme Court Justice Michael Donnelly this November. Having served as a common pleas court judge since 2015 after nearly four years as a municipal court judge and prior experience as a prosecutor in Butler and Hamilton counties, Shanahan said she decided to run for the state's highest court because of what she described as concerning trends in that judicial body.

"I saw the distinct need in Ohio, particularly on the Supreme Court, for judges that do not legislate from the bench," she said. "We have had a history in recent years of judges that are making decisions that are in violation of rules, laws and the Constitution, and we need conservative, constitutional-minded judges."

One example Shanahan pointed to was a 2021 case in Hamilton County in which the Ohio Supreme Court had ruled the defendant's bail as overly excessive, saying that public safety was not a consideration when determining bail. That led to the passage of State Issue 1 in 2022 requiring judges to consider public safety when determining bail. Shanahan was a vocal proponent of that ballot measure, speaking to the judiciary committees of both the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate in favor of its passage.

"I'm the only judge in Ohio who did that," she said. "I felt strongly. I love this state. I want it to be prosperous and I want it to be safe."

Shanahan said she sees herself as a referee rather than an advocate on the bench, focused on strictly interpreting cases based on the laws passed by the state legislature.

"The Supreme Court has to follow what the legislature enacts," she said. "That is our job, literally, to interpret and apply the laws and apply the Constitution as written."

Shanahan believes her experience as a common pleas court judge in Hamilton County will serve her well in the Supreme Court.

"The work and the experience that I have gained will serve the state as a whole," she said. "Taking that legal knowledge, that legal background and my comfort with the subject matter is an absolute benefit to every Ohioan."