Meet Justice Michael P. Donnelly

Justice Michael P. Donnelly was sworn in to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court in January 2019 following his impressive landslide victory in the previous year’s statewide General Election. During his time on the bench Justice Donnelly’s independence, impartiality, insight, and knowledge have earned the respect of his colleagues, the legal community, and the citizens of Ohio. His thoughtful votes and well-reasoned opinions, including those rendered in the most consequential cases to come before the Court in decades, reflect his unwavering commitment to upholding the Constitution and ensuring that every person receives equal treatment under the law.

Justice Donnelly’s opinions also provide a clear view of his judicial philosophy. In one of his first majority opinions, he rolled back more than $200 million in surcharges Ohio consumers had been forced to pay First Energy. He was an influential member of the Court majority that repeatedly rejected General Assembly and Congressional districts that had been gerrymandered in violation of Ohio’s Constitution, argued emphatically that the General Assembly did not have the power to schedule a special August election in 2023, turned back repeated attempts to keep the Reproductive Freedom amendment off the 2023 ballot, and protected the rights of union members.

Those opinions and many others Justice Donnelly authored during his five impactful years on Ohio’s highest court, along with his continued efforts to close Ohio’s justice gap, utilize data to promote equity in sentencing, and make the justice system more transparent, accountable, and efficient, argue strongly for his reelection,

Justice Donnelly began his legal career as an assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor. After honing his courtroom skills fighting for victims of crime, he entered private practice. For the next seven years, he represented injured workers and plaintiffs involved in a variety of legal battles. His zealous pursuit of their interests solidified his reputation as a lawyer of and for the people.

Justice Donnelly was elected judge of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in 2004, a position he held for 14 years. His tenure there was distinguished by his leadership of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Court, which oversees criminal cases involving defendants who suffer from severe mental illness or developmental disabilities. His service on this innovative tribunal underscored his dedication to nuanced and compassionate justice.

Justice Donnelly has consistently demonstrated his commitment to promoting professional development and adherence to the highest ethical standards. His contributions to the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism are noteworthy, as was the role he played in establishing the nationally recognized Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program. His selection as one of two Ohio judges invited to participate in the National Judicial College’s leadership program also illustrates his role as a judicial innovator and leader.

Justice Donnelly’s educational contributions as a faculty member at the Ohio Judicial College, coupled with his service on the Ohio State Board of Bar Examiners and the Ohio Jury Instruction Committee, highlight his multifaceted impact on the state’s legal landscape. Notably, his participation in the Ohio Supreme Court Death Penalty Task Force and his recent leadership in the Task Force on Conviction Integrity and Post-Conviction Review underscore his dedication to justice reform and the protection of the innocent.

His accolades, including the 2015 William K. Thomas Professionalism Award and the 2020 Alumni of the Year Award from Cleveland State University College of Law, reflect his respected standing in the legal community.

Beyond the courtroom, Justice Donnelly’s commitment to his community is evident through his board service for organizations like the Cleveland Baseball Federation and Chagrin Arts. His involvement in initiatives like the Western Reserve Fire Museum demonstrates his dedication to safety education and community welfare.

A proud Cleveland native, Justice Donnelly’s roots run deep in Ohio’s soil. A graduate of St. Ignatius High School, John Carroll University, and Cleveland State University College of Law, his entire educational and professional journey has been tied to Ohio, fostering a deep understanding of the state’s unique legal landscape.

With his wife, Nancy, and their two children, Justice Donnelly resides in Cleveland Heights, embodying the values of family and community he so vigorously defends.

Vote for Justice Michael P. Donnelly, the experienced, independent justice Ohioans can trust to protect our constitutional rights and maintain the integrity of our judicial system. Keep his strong, impartial voice on the Ohio Supreme Court.

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