McFarland interviewed for open Ohio Supreme Court seat

Chris Dunham, PDT Sports Writer

December 19, 2012

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Fourth District Court of Appeals Judge Matthew McFarland, of Wheelersburg, has gone through the process of interviewing to fill an unexpired term on the Supreme Court of Ohio and is awaiting the results of that interview.

McFarland is one of five appellate judges being considered by Ohio Governor John Kasich to fill the remaining two years of the unexpired term of Justice Evelyn Stratton, who after 16 years on Ohio’s largest court, decided to step down at the end of the year.

“After a great deal of thoughtful deliberation, I have decided to pursue a different course in my life,” Stratton said in her letter of resignation. “My heart tells me this is the right decision. For this reason I will be tendering my resignation as Justice at the end of this year.”

McFarland said whoever is appointed would serve out the remaining two years, then would run for the position in 2014.

The interview was held at the Vern Riffe Tower, named for the former Speaker of the Ohio House, Vernal G. Riffe, Jr., of Scioto County. One of the most important items in the government buildings in Columbus is the bust of Riffe on display in the Tower. McFarland said being interviewed there brought back fond memories.

“I worked there for the Speaker when I was in college,” McFarland said. “It’s always a special place in my heart. So I always feel a special honor to have worked for him every time I go back to that building. It was a big room with 11 people overlooking the Statehouse. It’s a beautiful building. It’s always special to go back there.

“It was exciting. He appointed a 7-person committee of attorneys from around the state. And then there were the Chiefs of Staff, his legal counsel, and his Deputy General Counsel in the room.”

McFarland said the interview lasted a little over an hour.

“I felt I was in there for about ten minutes. I seemed like it went fast,” McFarland said. “They asked some very good questions and I think I did the best I could. I think I represented the Fourth District in southern Ohio well.”

McFarland said he is now in the process of waiting for any further information from the Governor’s office.

“I thought the interview went well. I enjoyed it,” McFarland said. “We’re just in a holding pattern.”

If he was to receive the appointment, it would be a first for the area.

“I was talking with (Fourth District Court of Appeals) Judge (Pete) Abele about it, and I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone from Scioto County being on the Supreme Court,” McFarland said. “He (Abele) couldn’t recall and I couldn’t find any in my research.”

McFarland said he is honored to be considered, and feels he is in a “win win” situation, because he said he loves his position on the Fourth District Court. McFarland has served several times, filling in on the Supreme Court bench.

“They said the governor wanted to make the appointment by the end of the year,” McFarland said. “That’s what they told me after the interview.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com