COLUMBUS -- Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton announced her retirement Tuesday, leaving Gov. John Kasich to name a replacement to the state's high court.
Stratton will resign from the bench at the end of the year, with plans to advocate nationally on mental health and other issues.
"I never wanted anybody to say that my job came second and my causes came first," she told reporters. "So, after 16 years of reading five feet of legal briefs every two weeks... It never stops, and it limits my ability to work on other causes."
She added, "I have just finally decided it's time for me to move on and let somebody else do this job that really wanted to and loved it and could devote the time to it that I do devote but want to spend elsewhere."
The announcement Tuesday was not planned. Stratton called a late-afternoon press availability after news of her retirement leaked to reporters; she said she wasn't planning to make a formal announcement for a couple of weeks.
Stratton was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1996 and was reelected to her third term in 2008. She previously served on the bench in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
During her time as a justice, Stratton has been active in issues related to court security, adoption and juvenile justice. She created a statewide advisory committee to address mental health issues in the court system and worked to establish mental health courts throughout the state. She also has been involved in comparable specialized courts to assist veterans dealing with legal issues.
Stratton said she does not have another job offer but will spend coming months exploring opportunities. She plans to remain in Ohio.
Stratton informed Kasich of her decision on Monday; the governor will appoint a replacement.
"My request to him and his commitment to me was to pick the best possible person without any regard for politics or otherwise," she said. "He assured me that that was his goal. He would pick the best possible person that would be above reproach, and that when he picked that person, people would say that is a good choice."
She added, "I don't have any particular name to give him."
Stratton is one of six Republicans and four women on the seven-member high court.