Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Supreme Court Justices Have Different Backgrounds

Although many people think that justices on the Supreme Court of Ohio have already served as judges, it may surprise you to know that not everyone comes to our court after serving as a judge. Right now, the only requirement for any judgeship – including the Supreme Court – is six years of experience as an attorney.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be the only person ever elected to every level of the court system: the municipal court, common pleas court, appeals court and now the Supreme Court. Nearly all the other justices have also had judicial experience before arriving at our Court. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, and Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Terrence O’Donnell and Yvette McGee Brown were trial judges. Justices O’Donnell and Robert Cupp were appellate judges.

The non-judicial government experience among us also varies. Chief Justice O’Connor served in the executive branch as lieutenant governor and director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. As a county commissioner Justice Cupp was also part of the executive branch. Justice Paul Pfeifer and Justice Cupp were members of the General Assembly, the legislative branch. This means that Justice Cupp has served in all three branches of government.

As you can see, our backgrounds differ. By combining our varied experiences, we can bring a better perspective to the cases that come before the Court.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The One-Day Justice

I thought it might be interesting to tell you about some of the people who have served on the Supreme Court of Ohio. Let’s start with the man who served the shortest term on the Supreme Court – Hocking H. Hunter. He took the oath of office on Feb. 9, 1864 and resigned the same day!

Why didn’t he serve longer on the Court? He realized he couldn’t keep his law practice while he discharged his judicial duties. Fortunately, his replacement, William White, had one of the longest tenures, serving for more than 19 years on the Court.

Before his one-day term at the Court, Hunter served for six years as the prosecuting attorney in Fairfield County. He also had two sons who served in the judiciary in other states, one in Washington and one as Chief Justice in Utah.

To read Hunter’s full biography, click on this link:

As of today, there are 153 people, including eight women who have been on our Court. Come back to the blog often to hear about them.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

State of the Judiciary is judicial branch’s version of State of the State

Today is the State of the State, an annual speech given by the governor about the challenges and opportunities facing Ohio. It’s the Buckeye version of the annual State of the Union speech the President gives.

Did you know that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio delivers a similar address every September? It’s called the State of the Judiciary.

Every judge in every court in Ohio is invited to hear what the Chief Justice thinks are the most important issues confronting the judicial branch. The speech occurs at the same time as the annual meeting of the Ohio Judicial Conference, which is the association of judges throughout the state.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor gave her first State of the Judiciary last year. To learn more and view a video, click this link: