Blanche Ethel Krupansky
b. Dec. 10, 1925
d. April 14, 2008
137th Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio
Term
Sept. 10, 1981
to Jan. 10, 1983

BLANCHE ETHEL KRUPANSKY

Blanche Ethel Krupansky highlighted a notable judicial career by becoming the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court of Ohio. Judge Krupansky brought to the Court experience from her service on the Cleveland Municipal Court, the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and the 8th District Court of Appeals.

Krupansky was born in Cleveland to Frank and Ann Krupansky on Dec. 10, 1925. Following her education in Cleveland’s public schools, she graduated from Flora Stone Mather College in Cleveland in 1947, and from Case-Western Reserve University Law School in 1948. Krupansky began private practice in 1949, following her admission to the Ohio Bar. Later, she served as an assistant attorney general during the terms of Ohio Attorney General C. William O’Neil and was appointed assistant chief counsel to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Krupansky began her judicial career by serving on the Cleveland Municipal Court from 1961 to 1969. She was elected to her first term on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in November 1968. Krupansky was re-elected in 1974 to a six-year term. In November 1976, she defeated Hugh Corrigan for a seat on the 8th District Court of Appeals.

Gov. James A. Rhodes appointed Krupansky on Aug. 28, 1981 to complete the unexpired term of Justice Paul W. Brown, who resigned from the Supreme Court earlier. Krupansky, to her surprise, learned of the appointment by listening to a broadcast on her car radio while driving to Cleveland following interviews with Gov. Rhodes and the state Republican Party’s screening committee. In his announcement, Gov. Rhodes said, “Judge Krupansky has an impeccable record as a jurist. She will serve the people of Ohio in an outstanding manner.”

With her appointment, Krupansky joined fellow Clevelander Florence E. Allen as the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court of Ohio. In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch Krupansky said she favored a “strong death penalty on the books as a deterrent to crime” and that “the law is a pedestrian procedure with each case decided on its merits. There is no easy solution in the law.”

In 1981, Krupansky wrote the majority opinion in a 4-3-split decision in the case of the City of University Heights v. O’Leary. Her opinion reversed the judgment of the Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals and affirmed the City of University Heights’ ability to enact and enforce a comprehensive firearm registration law. Krupansky argued that the Ohio Constitution provided home-rule cities with legal authority to adopt and enforce local police, safety and sanitary laws if not in conflict with laws adopted by the Ohio General Assembly. Since requiring citizens to register for restricted weapons owners’ identification cards and prohibiting the transport of restricted weapons in vehicles without citizens carrying such identification cards were not prohibited by the Ohio Revised Code, the City of University Heights’ adoption of firearm registration laws was permitted.

Under Ohio law, Judge Krupansky was obliged to run for re-election at the next general election in November 1982. She lost to James Celebrezze, brother of then-Chief Justice Frank D. Celebrezze.

Krupansky returned to the 8th District Court of Appeals when Gov. Rhodes appointed her to a vacant seat before he left office in January 1983. Krupansky campaigned successfully for election to a full six-year term in November 1988. She retired from the appeals court in 1995. Krupansky also served as a visiting commentator to the Case Western Reserve University School of Law and a member of its board of governors.

Krupansky married fellow attorney Frank W. Vargo on April 30, 1960.  The couple met while serving as co-counsels on a court case in Cleveland that they won.

Krupansky was selected in 1981 as a member of the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame and received numerous other awards and honoraria. Krupansky’s younger brother, Robert, also pursued a legal and judicial career. He served as judge for the federal district court for northern Ohio and on the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

Krupansky died April 14, 2008.