Justice Pat DeWine began his service on the Supreme Court of Ohio on January 2, 2017, following a statewide election in which he received over 56% of the vote.
Prior Court Experience
Before serving on the Supreme Court, Justice DeWine was a judge on the First District Court of Appeals based in Cincinnati. An excellent writer, Justice DeWine was known for the quality and thoroughness of his legal opinions. His opinions reflect his strong belief in judicial restraint and his respect for the constitutional roles of the other coequal branches of government.
Justice DeWine’s service has been enhanced by his experience on the trial bench. On the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, Justice DeWine earned a reputation as a judge who treated litigants fairly and ensured that criminal defendants received appropriate sentences.
Path to the Bench
Appellate practice has been a central part of Justice DeWine’s career. After law school, Justice DeWine was selected for a clerkship on United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, one of the most prestigious and sought after positions a young lawyer can receive. He served under the Honorable David A. Nelson, who had been appointed to the Sixth Circuit by President Ronald Reagan.
Justice DeWine understands the litigant’s perspective, having practiced law for 13 years with one of Cincinnati’s top law firms, Keating, Muething & Klekamp. While at KMK, he handled a diverse range of litigation matters, including mass tort bankruptcies, securities fraud litigation, constitutional and voting rights claims, labor and employment matters, tax appeals, zoning and property rights matters, contract disputes, and complex commercial litigation.
Justice DeWine graduated in the top ten percent of his class from the University of Michigan Law School with Order of the Coif honors. He was selected Executive Editor of the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, won honors as a moot court semifinalist, and on multiple occasions, received academic awards for obtaining the top marks in his classes. In addition to his academic achievements, during his third year in law school, he finished second in the Toledo marathon with a time of 2:30:53, one of the top marathon times in the state that year.
Justice DeWine is a 1990 graduate of Miami University, where he received degrees in History and Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs, while maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average and receiving summa cum laude honors. At Miami, Justice DeWine was awarded the academic Alumni Scholarship three times, received recognition as the top student in the political science department and was a national Truman Scholarship finalist alternate award winner. He was also a member of the Varsity Track and Cross Country teams.
Commitment to Education
Justice DeWine has a strong commitment to furthering the rule of law through education. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati in both the College of Law and in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. He teaches Appellate Practice and Procedure to law students, and courses in Ohio Government & Politics and American Courts to undergraduate students in the political science department.
Other Public Service
Justice DeWine brings a unique perspective and a familiarity with the concerns of local communities to the bench because of his public service as a County Commissioner and a member of Cincinnati City Council.
As a member of the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, he focused on reforming County government, lowering the tax burden, eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy and promoting public safety. He led the citizens referendum that ultimately repealed the nearly $1 billion sales tax increase that was enacted by his colleagues on the Commission. He helped initiate neighborhood probation substations and implemented key reforms to the foster care system. He was honored by the Reason Foundation by being named an “Innovator in Action,” along with such leaders as Rudy Giuliani and Jeb Bush, for his efforts to reform County government.
On Cincinnati City Council, Justice DeWine was known as a taxpayer watchdog, successfully rooting out wasteful spending and abuse in city government. He helped eliminate unnecessary regulations, led the effort to crack down on quality of life issues affecting city neighborhoods and created a development fund that leveraged private capital to spur new housing development downtown and across city neighborhoods. He also led the Issue Four charter change that created a more accountable city government by allowing the city to hire the most qualified individuals for key positions in city government.
Justice DeWine was a founder of the Build Cincinnati reform group that successfully passed a charter amendment to allow Cincinnati voters to directly elect the Mayor.
Justice DeWine and his wife Rhonda live in Cincinnati where they are the proud parents of five children: Michael (20), Matthew (18), Jacob (18), Grace (15) and Brian (15).