Office: For Judge of the Ninth District Court of Appeals
Term Beginning 2/9/2021
Social Media: Facebook: http://facebook.com/BettySuttonOH; Twitter: @BettySutton
Occupation: Attorney in private practice
Education: Juris Doctor, The University of Akron School of Law; Bachelor of Arts, Kent State University
Work Experience: Attorney for almost 30 years, private practice: (1991-1995; 2000-2007; 2020); Administrator, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (Presidential Appointment) (2013-2017); US Representative for Ohio’s 13th Congressional District, United States House of Representatives (2007-2013); State Representative of House District 47, Ohio House of Representatives (1993-2000); At-Large Member of Summit County Council (1991-1993); At-Large Member of Barberton City Council (1990-1991)
Family: Married, 2 stepchildren, 6 grandchildren
Affiliations: Member: Akron Bar Association, Lorain County Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Lakeview United Methodist Church, Akron Branch NAACP (Life Member), Barberton Branch NAACP (Life Member), Humane Society
Endorsements: Ohio AFL-CIO, Lorain Firefighters Local 267, Ohio Fraternal Order of Police International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 6, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 8, Lorain Laborers Local 758, Ironworkers Local 17, United Auto Workers (UAW) Region 2B, Pipefitters Local 5, and Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 4302
Bar Association Ratings:
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
As an attorney since 1991, I began my legal career in private practice. I worked on both civil and criminal cases, with a primary focus on civil litigation that included personal injury, workplace injuries, and general negligence cases. In 2000, I began focusing more on labor and employment law, representing workers, including first responders, teachers, nurses, university professors, building and construction trades workers, and others in a variety of forums. I negotiated collective bargaining agreements, drafted contracts, conducted discovery, represented clients at mediation, arbitration and in court. I also worked on civil service, administrative, and education law issues.
In addition to the traditional legal experience described above, I also have valuable experience in public service, having worked as a lawmaker at the city, county, state, and federal levels of government. I researched and wrote laws, chaired hearings, questioned witnesses, and engaged in administrative oversight, among other things.
While serving in the US House of Representatives, I served on the Judiciary Committee, where I worked on issues related to the judiciary and civil, criminal, and administrative law. I served on the Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee and as a member of the Judiciary and Antitrust Subcommittee. I also gained a great deal of insight into laws pertaining to health care, consumer protection, the environment, and government oversight while serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
During my service as a State Representative, I attained valuable experience as the Vice Chair of the Judiciary and Criminal Justice Committee, as a member of the Civil and Commercial Law Committee, the Health Committee, Insurance Committee and on the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, which reviewed rule-making of over 100 agencies. I also served on the Ohio Community Corrections Advisory Board and as Chair of the Women in Law Committee of the Ohio Women’s Policy and Research Commission. After leaving Congress, I was appointed the Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. In that position, I managed the U.S. portion of an international waterway and gained significant and relevant experience dealing with a wide array of legal issues, which often involved complex legal principles and complicated facts.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
I want to serve on the Ninth District Court of Appeals because I know that it is crucial that our courts are fair and impartial. I have the work ethic and unrivaled experience to ensure that it will be. Having worked as a lawyer, lawmaker, and executive has given me unique insight into the law, how it should be interpreted, and a deep understanding of the importance of fairness and justice for all who come before the court.
I grew up the youngest of six in Barberton. My dad worked at the boiler factory and my mom worked at the local library. They taught me to value education, the rule of law and giving back to our community. Because of them, I have made the law and service the cornerstones of my career. I attended law school in Akron, where I was recognized for excellence in Constitutional Law. While still in school, I was elected to the Barberton City Council and then served on the Summit County Council, before winning election to the Ohio House of Representatives and the United States Congress. It was there that I learned to write the laws and oversee the courts while serving on the Judiciary and Rules Committees. Subsequently, I was appointed by the President to serve as Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, where I dealt with many complicated legal issues to keep the Seaway open and American Families working.
As an attorney for nearly 30 years, I have represented people and workers who have been injured or not always treated fairly. Those are the kinds of cases I took on. No matter where my career has taken me, I have never forgotten where I come from or why service matters. My unique experience has given me an exceptional understanding of the law and I want to use that understanding to deliver fairness and justice for all on the Court of Appeals. I have dealt with a variety of legal issues throughout my career, giving me valuable experience for this court which reviews a variety of different types of cases. I know that the court’s decisions have profound, real life impacts on people and our communities. It must not be driven by politics. It must be fiercely independent. Our Constitution requires it, our citizens deserve it, and I have the right experience to make sure they will get it.