Ohio Editorial Boards Criticize Strickland for Scalia Remark

Ted Strickland
Ted Strickland / AP

Two editorial boards in Ohio criticized Democrat Ted Strickland for saying that the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia came at a "good time" for labor unions.

The editorial board of the Bowling Green Daily News labeled the statement "shameful" in an opinion article published on Monday, one week after Strickland, a candidate for U.S. Senate, told the Cleveland chapter of the AFL-CIO that "the death of Scalia saved labor from a terrible decision." Strickland was forced to apologize on Wednesday after audio of the statement, which provoked laughter from his audience, gained considerable media attention.

"No politician or civilian should ever make a comment that it is a good thing that someone has died. There is no place in our society for this kind out-of-bounds rhetoric. But, unfortunately, some people simply have no shame," the editorial board wrote.

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"These comments are not only out of bounds, they are very hurtful to the Scalia family and countless people who were very close to the longtime justice," the editorial continued. "It is quite clear that Strickland has no class and many of the members in the audience at the event have no class."

When discussing a 4-4 decision by the Supreme Court in March that was viewed as a win for unions, Strickland told the audience last Monday, "I don’t wish anyone ill, but it happened at a good time because once that decision had been made it would have been tough to reverse it."

After the comment created a firestorm of media coverage, Strickland apologized in a statement issued by his campaign, calling the remark "insensitive." Strickland is challenging incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), and recent polls have shown the Democrat’s support waning.

An editorial published in the Columbus Dispatch on Thursday also criticized Strickland for the remark, describing it as registering "high on the distasteful scale." The editorial board did, however, credit Strickland for apologizing for the statement after it was ill-received.

"Scalia’s family probably does not think his death came at a good time," the Dispatch editorial board wrote.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week showed Portman leading Strickland by 9 points in the crucial swing-state race.