Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Power of One

Last month Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Yvette McGee Brown and I spoke at an event honoring Rosa Parks, the “Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement.” Ohio was recently recognized in the U.S. Congress as the first state to officially observe Rosa Parks Day.

Our Nov. 30 panel was part of a two-day tribute to Parks, who in December 1955 refused to give up her bus set to a white passenger, an event that sparked tremendous publicity and progress for civil rights for African Americans. She exemplifies the “power of one.”

Like Rosa Parks, who had the courage of her convictions, we as individuals have our own ripple effect on those in our world. Each of us has special talents, gifts we’ve been given and that we’re expected to use and develop. As we four justices spoke about our own experiences, we showed how each one of us has pursued a unique path to our present judicial positions. We are individuals with the “power of one,” but we work together to create a collegial court, one that deliberates for better judicial decisions. Our combined work is the power of one Supreme Court that works for all Ohioans.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center

As of December 2, the building that houses the Supreme Court of Ohio has a new name.

The Ohio Judicial Center will now be called the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center in honor of our late Chief Justice Moyer.

The second longest serving chief justice in Ohio history, and the longest serving state court chief justice in the nation at the time of his untimely death on April 2, 2010, Chief Justice Moyer served the court for just shy of 24 years. He is known for starting the rehabilitation of the 1930s Ohio Departments building that became the Ohio Judicial Center in 2004 and for his significant contributions to civility and public service and his dedication to the rule of law.

Almost 400 members of the judiciary and guests honored the late chief justice on Dec. 2 during the rededication ceremony. As part of the event, Chief Justice Moyer’s official court portrait was hung in the grand concourse where it will welcome all visitors to the home of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Three New Education Links

Other places in the United States are becoming involved in civics education. Here are a couple of sites I’ve discovered, along with the ABA’s URL on the topic of democracy and public education.  is from Oregon, and it begins:
Democracy, civics and active participation in the community are not things with which we are born – they must be learned. Which is why Classroom Law Project brings vital and engaging civics and law-related education programs into Oregon schools, teaching students at all grade levels the values and skills essential to being a participating citizen in our democracy. Each year, our innovative, timely, practical and fun programs involve and inspire over 400 teachers and 24,000 students from 250 schools in 75 Oregon communities.  from California also has similar goals:
The Center for Civic Education is an independent, nonprofit organization based in California with a network of program coordinators in every state and congressional district in the country and in more than seventy emerging and advanced democracies throughout the world. The mission of the Center is to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry that is committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy in the United States and other countries. The Center administers a wide range of critically acclaimed curricular, teacher-training, and community-based programs in conjunction with civic educators and activist around the world.

Finally, here is the American Bar Association’s Public Education Division:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Justice Lanzinger Welcomes New Lawyers

I was privileged to give the keynote speech after more than 900 new attorneys took the oath of office on Nov. 7 at the Ohio Theatre here in Columbus.

Among other things, I told them: “Your status has changed. You are now a lawyer. You are now an attorney at law. What you say and what you sign guarantees trust, for as your oath said, 'you are an officer of the court.' You now officially belong in the land of the law… as an attorney you have the tools to help those most in need. Apart from understanding law, attorneys have to be good with people. After all the heart and the soul of your practice will always be your clients. Their problems are paramount. Their needs and wishes must always be considered.”

More than 81 percent of the 1,176 applicants who sat in the July 2011 exam received passing scores and satisfied all of the Supreme Court’s other admissions requirements. They are the future leaders of the practicing bar of Ohio and we wish them successful careers in helping others.

In case you missed it, a link to the entire speech is right here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

First school to use transportation grant visits the Supreme Court of Ohio

It’s great to see the $30,000 worth of transportation grants being put to good use!

Fifth and sixth graders from Keene Elementary traveled from western Ohio to learn how the judicial system works firsthand. The students participated in a Harry Potter mock trial and learned about forensic evidence.

The Keene students had never before visited us at the Supreme Court of Ohio. They were so excited to be here!

This is the first year the Visitor Education Center received money to help bring students to the Ohio Judicial Center. If your school is interested in touring the Visitor Education Center please call 614.387.9223 or e-mail

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ohio Teachers Become Students during Two-Day Program

Teachers from across the state visited the Ohio Judicial Center on Nov. 2 to learn more about the Supreme Court of Ohio.

More than 20 Ohio teachers participating in the annual Ohio Government in Action program sponsored by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education. The two-day program teaches the educators about the three branches of government.

Besides being welcomed by Chief Justice Maureen O’Conner, the group also took a tour of the Visitor Education Center, observed a Supreme Court of Ohio oral argument session, and ate lunch with Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Terrence O’Donnell, Robert R. Cupp, Yvette McGee Brown and myself.

The group also toured the Statehouse and met with Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine and had meetings with legislators.

Teachers: Please don’t hesitate to contact the Visitor Education Center if you’d like to tour the Ohio Judicial Center.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grant Winners Selected

Congratulations to the 100 schools that have won a field trip transportation grant to visit our Ohio Judicial Center! It was a difficult process to winnow down the 250 applications that were received by the deadline. As you know, we had only 100 grants available worth up to $400 each.

Our grant winners were selected by the Visitor Education Center based upon need, and we are happy to report that classes which would otherwise have had a very difficult time in reaching the home of the Supreme Court of Ohio now will have the chance to do so.

We are grateful to the Ohio Judicial Center Foundation, which donated $30,000 to help off-set transportation costs. And we’re also glad that those who applied have shown that they value a visit to see us.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Come visit the Ohio Justice Center

Let me remind you that we have many visitors to the Supreme Court here in Columbus. Just today, Ohio Northern University’s LLM students toured the Ohio Judicial Center. Nearly a dozen law students sat in on oral arguments and talked with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor before eating lunch with Justice Robert Cupp.

You are welcome to come in person to see oral arguments at any time. Here is the schedule. We begin at 9 a.m. on days arguments are scheduled. You can also watch us online. It’s a great way to learn about Ohio’s rule of law.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hathaway Brown Students Meet Chief Justice during Field Trip

You are never too old to decide what you want to be when you grow up. That’s a great piece of advice from Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.

She spoke with students from Hathaway Brown (an all-girls school in Shaker Heights) about how she originally wanted to become a doctor, and then a teacher, before paving her path in life to become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

We want to thank the students from Hathaway Brown for not only asking the Chief amazing questions but for prepping so well for their tour of the Visitor Education Center at the Ohio Judicial Center.

We hope they enjoyed the case they heard being argued before the seven Justices of the Supreme Court and learned how important the rule of law is.

Students and teachers: If you have any questions before or after your visit to the Supreme Court, please post them here on the blog, and we will get you an answer ASAP.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Social Studies Teachers and the Judiciary: Partners in Civics Programs

I just finished speaking at the 21st Law and Citizenship Conference sponsored by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education, and WOW, they did it again!

It was great speaking with social studies teachers from across the state about the judicial system and what Ohio’s courts can do to help students learn about their responsibilities as citizens.

I explained how teachers and the judiciary can be partners in civics programs. I also told the elementary, middle and high school teachers about , a national program designed to inspire students through interactive civic education. It’s a super way for students to have fun learning through interactive on-line games and lessons.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell also attended the OCLRE conference and spoke about the differences between interpreting and making law. And, a special congratulations to Justice Robert Cupp and his wife, Libby, who received the prestigious Founders’ Award given for significant contributions to the growth of law-related education.

What a fine way to celebrate the weekend that memorializes the signing of our U.S. Constitution!

Please comment if you have any questions for me about the courts or

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chief Justice to Greet First Field Trip of the Season at Ohio Judicial Center

Each school year, thousands of students from around the state tour the Supreme Court.

We will welcome our first field trip of the year on Tuesday when 25 students from Hathaway Brown (an all-girls school in Shaker Heights) visit. Not only will they tour the Visitor Education Center, but they will sit in the courtroom and listen to a case being argued before the seven Justices of the Supreme Court.

But best of all, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will talk to and answer questions from the girls. Please look for a blog post later this week with photos and a video of their discussion.

Students and teachers: If you have any questions before or after your visit to the Supreme Court, please post them here on the blog, and we will get you an answer ASAP.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grant applications due Sept. 15

Teachers We know that field trips may be in danger of being crossed off your lists this year due to tighter budgets, so we would like to help.

Are you interested in getting a grant to help your class see the Supreme Court of Ohio in Columbus?

The Visitor Education Center is now accepting grant applications for consideration.

The grant may cover up to $400 in field trip transportation costs for your students to visit the Supreme Court of Ohio during the 2011-12 school year.

Time is ticking and will run out on Sept. 15.

A visit to the Ohio Judicial Center is a great way for your students to experience government and for you to supplement your classroom lessons.

Your students could even have the chance to talk to me about why courts are so important in our everyday lives.

Find the application at this link:

Best of luck – we hope to see you and your class!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Annual Constitution Day observance approaching

In about two weeks, Americans will celebrate the 224th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

Each year, schools that receive federal funds must educate students about the Constitution on that day, although it will be Friday, Sept. 16, since the 17th is a Saturday this year.

Ohio civics teachers searching for potential activities may go to the iCivics Web site for resources. Here is the link: Teachers will find a lesson plan and a game for students to play. Have fun!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Take a field trip to the Supreme Court

If you’ve never visited the Supreme Court on a school field trip, now’s your chance. Today the court announced $30,000 for 100 grants so more schools can tour the Ohio Judicial Center, home of the Supreme Court.
Best of all, the neediest schools have the best chance of receiving a grant. The amount of grant money will depend on how far your school is from the Supreme Court.

Applications can only be submitted online by teachers and school administrators between Sept. 1-30 for the 2011-12 school year. Visit this link to access the application:

Please don’t forget to let me know you’re visiting. I would love to meet you if I can.

Good luck!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A different kind of summer school

I can’t wait to meet this year’s group of students participating in a statewide program that seeks to improve diversity in the legal profession.

It’s called the Law and Leadership Institute, and the program identifies promising youth from urban neighborhoods and grooms them to be future leaders in the legal profession by offering them a chance to study law during the summer at an Ohio law school. Students entering the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grades will begin their studies on June 27 at eight host law schools in six cities: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.

I had fun traveling around to the different sites last summer. I expect to be equally impressed by the caliber of students this summer, especially when I stop by the Toledo session on June 28.

For more information on the Law and Leadership program, visit:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fathers and sons have served on Supreme Court

Father’s Day is this Sunday. If you didn’t know that, hurry up and make your dad a card.
With dads on our minds and with the recent launch of our new justices’ biography web site, did you know that several fathers and sons have served as Justices on the Supreme Court? In fact, two sons succeeded their fathers on the Court.

Justice Edward Matthias died on Nov. 2, 1953. His son, John, defeated his father’s successor in the 1954 election for his father’s seat and was sworn in Dec. 16, 1954. The terms for Justices Paul and Thomas M. Herbert were even closer in time. Justice Paul Herbert could not run for re-election in 1968 and his term ended Dec. 31 that year. His son, Justice Thomas M. Herbert, began his term on the Court the very next day on Jan. 1, 1969.

The two other father-son combinations to serve on the Court were: Luther (father) and Robert H. Day and J. Foster (father) and Robert N. Wilkin. Each served in the early 1900s except for Luther Day, who served in the late 1800s.

To read their bios as well as other Justices’ bios, visit:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Note to Teachers: Check Out A New Planning Source

Dear teachers, I know you’re busy with the final days of this school year. I remember those wonderful field trips and school picnics that started the all-too-short vacation time. But during the relaxing summer, some of my best lesson plans were created. Good teachers never stop planning, do they? Here’s one idea you might consider as you pack for the beach.

The National Center for State Courts has created Justice Case Files, a series of graphic novels about the workings of the courts and their critical role in a democratic society. These easy-to-read, 20-page booklets bring court cases to life to help students enjoy learning about the justice system.

For example, The Case of Internet Piracy, first in the series, tells the story of two trials. Megan, a college freshman, is prosecuted for illegally downloading music files from the Internet as her grandmother fights to get the fair market value for their home in an unrelated eminent domain proceeding. The novel traces the progress of both Megan’s criminal case and the civil eminent domain dispute in clear language at a pace that naturally invites discussion. A preview is available here.

Each booklet includes a glossary of terms used in the story and some have an annotated courtroom diagram. Lesson plans are also available.

So, when your curriculum planning begins for next year, take a peek at Justice Case Files. Until then, enjoy your summer and take that well-deserved rest. Justice Judy

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Answers to the Justice Biography Quiz

Before school lets out for summer, let me give answers to all students who tried to answer questions about the Justices who have served on the Ohio Supreme Court since 1803.

1) Which justice served the shortest term? Hocking Hunter
2) Which justice served the longest term? Edward Matthias
3) Which justice was the second longest-serving chief justice? Thomas Moyer
4) Which justice was the first woman to serve? Florence Allen
5) Which justice served with his brother on the Court? Frank Celebrezze Jr.

How did you do? The questions weren’t easy, but remember you can learn more about the 153 people who have served on the Supreme Court of Ohio by clicking

Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Take the Justice Biography Quiz

It’s that time of year when the Ohio Judicial Center becomes a favorite site for field-trips before school ends.

The 100 fourth-graders that I talked with Monday from Monroe Elementary School sure know their government facts. They answered question after question about the judicial, legislative and executive branches at the end of their visit to the Ohio Judicial Center. To see the session that includes a special visit from a justice who made history long ago, click play on the video below.

We also introduced our new Web site that includes biographies of all 153 justices who have served on our Supreme Court. The Ohio Historical Society helped tremendously in researching this information.
You can read all the biographies by visiting this Web site:

Once you do that, see how you do on this quiz on Supreme Court justices. I’ll post the answers next week.

1) Which justice served the shortest term?
2) Which justice served the longest term?
3) Which justice was the second longest-serving chief justice?
4) Which justice was the first woman to serve?
5) Which justice served with his brother on the Court?

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hooray for Heritage Middle School!

Back in November I told you about a statewide video contest to teach Ohio middle school students about the dangers of “sexting” and cyber bullying.

On Monday, the winning team of students and teachers from Heritage Middle School in Painesville was recognized by the Ohio State Bar Foundation, which sponsored the contest.

Congratulations to students Leah Oberstar, Jayden Bowler-Dixon, Nick Severino and Jalen Powell and teachers Justin Vargo, Ryan Delaney and Kahari Hicks for a job well done and for raising awareness about this important issue.

You can view the video by visiting this link:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Justice Judy Joins YouTube

The Ohio State Bar Association has created a series of instructional videos posted on YouTube for new attorneys who are beginning their careers in the practice of law. I was delighted to be part of that program. While I’m not ready to launch my very own YouTube channel, there are two videos I’d like to tell you about.

In the first one, I make a few recommendations for what new attorneys should know as they begin appearing before judges and the courts. Click here to watch that video:

In the second, I discuss the basics of Ohio’s court system. To watch that one, click here:

Although the series is directly primarily toward new layers, I hope this information will be helpful to you, too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

High Tech Education

New developments in technology like iPads, smart phones and cloud computing are changing our lives in many ways. Judges, court personnel and others within the judicial system will be able to keep up with these ever-changing times because of a new Supreme Court educational service.

The Court’s Judicial College launched the Judicial eCademy Tuesday. It allows users interested in education and training to browse courses, access material, register and take selected courses entirely online, all without leaving home or the office.

But the best feature about the service is that it will save time by reducing travel expenses for local courts and money by reducing printing costs for course materials for the Court.

To read more about the eCademy, visit the website

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Special Award for Court’s Diversity Program

Remember the Ohio Law and Leadership program we mentioned last summer? The American Bar Association honored the Ohio Law and Leadership Institute for establishing a pipeline program for those intending to complete college and enter the legal profession. Interested youngsters from urban neighborhoods receive a chance to study law during the summer at an Ohio law school.

For the second year I spoke to students enrolled in this program – this time in Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo. I hope to do the same this summer. Let me tell you, these students work so hard and their stories are inspiring.

This year’s group will be the first class to attend all four years. I can’t wait to hear where they will attend college.

You can read more about the Law and Leadership program by visiting the website,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Court’s Own Home

Many people don’t realize that it took more than 200 years for the Ohio Supreme Court to find its own home. In the very early days, the Supreme Court Justices, (then called judges) were expected to “ride the circuit” by horseback to hear cases in every county in the state. When there were no local courthouses, sometimes cases were heard in county residences. The Court did not even sit in one place until 1857 when it moved “temporarily” to the Ohio Statehouse. And there it stayed for 117 years.

The Ohio Statehouse celebrates its 150th year in 2011. It now houses offices for the executive and legislative branches of government and is the meeting place for the General Assembly. But for over a century, even before construction was completed, the Supreme Court was also there.

First, cases were heard in the southwest corner of the Statehouse (now the office for the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives). As government grew, between 1899 and 1901 a Judiciary Annex was built and included the Attorney General’s Office as well as the Court and other offices that had outgrown their spaces. The Supreme Court met in split sessions of three justices in the two Annex courtrooms. Those rooms are now the North Hearing Room and South Hearing Room in the Senate Building.

The next move led the Court to the Rhodes State Office Tower in 1974 where it stayed side-by-side members of the executive branch for 30 years. Not until February of 2004 did the Court finally move to the Ohio Judicial Center. This was the first time in the state’s history that the Supreme Court had a building devoted solely to the judicial branch. The first time it had its own home.

You can read more about our award-winning Judicial Center by visiting the website,