Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Labor Day Reminders Adorn the Ohio Judicial Center

Labor Day is this Monday, and of course we celebrate the traditional end of summer with picnics and family relaxation. But sometimes amid the hotdogs and last dips in the pool we forget that  Labor Day was created to remember the workers who built our nation and continue to make it prosperous and productive. A visit to the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center would serve as a good reminder of labor’s importance to the United States and the Buckeye State.

Throughout our historic building there are great works of art that recognize what we celebrate on Labor Day. It is a building that remembers labor, both inside and out.

On the exterior of the building for example, marble bas relief sculptures illustrate dozens of industries from woodworking to beekeeping. On the northeast corner of the center’s exterior, a carved saying proclaims in stone what could be the Labor Day motto: “The whole fabric of society rests upon labor.”
When you enter the building and visit the North Hearing Room you will see the area of the Judicial Center with the most obvious labor theme.

Architect Harry Hake designed this room to be used by the Industrial Commission for workers compensation hearings. John F. Holmer created 11 murals titled The Progress of Industry, which realistically depict the dignity of physical labor. They reflect a style of public art popular throughout the 1930s known as American Realism.

The center panels on the north and south walls to the right and the left as you enter the room are the major paintings in the series. On the right, in the center of the north wall, early Ohio industry is depicted. Men are shown plowing, driving an oxcart, digging, and hauling lumber for a building under construction in the smaller panel to the right. Women are spinning, churning, and carrying water.
Across from this painting, on the south wall is a contrasting scene of a modern steel building being erected.

The rest of the murals are divided between early scenes of Ohio labor and modern work. Flanking the center mural on the left on the north wall, is a scene depicting the early pottery industry, including workers at a potter's wheel, a kiln, and pots drying in the sun. The right hand panel on the west wall shows a blacksmith shop.

A three-panel mural covers the east wall. Pioneers arrive in Ohio in Conestoga wagons toward the  center panel,  a rural scene, while on the right, miners, a coal tipple, and oil derricks symbolize the modern period.  At the west wall on the left side of the window, men work with various machines, in contrast to the blacksmith who uses older hand tools in the scene on the right. The south wall’s  main mural is accompanied by a modern steel mill on the left and   a modern stone quarry on the right.
 This room is now used primarily for hearings by Supreme Court commissions such as the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline.

As you relax this Monday, take a moment to remember the reason for Labor Day. And if you need a reminder, come and visit the Moyer Judicial Center.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Recess is Over

If you have been following the court schedule, you may have noticed that from July 11 until August 21 the Supreme Court took a bit of a recess in hearing new cases. Of course, in the meantime we justices handled administrative matters and continued to work on our opinions for cases that we have already heard. But the Supreme Court of Ohio is unlike the U.S. Supreme Court in that we do not begin a new term on the first Monday in October and do not have three months off in the summer.

This fall we will again travel for Off-Site Court – this time to Cleveland. We will hear four oral argument cases at the Case Western Reserve University Law School on Tuesday, September 25, and then convene at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse on Wednesday, September 26 to hear four more cases. Both sessions will begin at 9 a.m., and just as in the past, will be attended by local high school students who have been briefed on the case they will attend by their teachers and volunteer attorneys. Law students will attend Tuesday’s oral arguments. A summary of the eight cases (four civil and four criminal) can be found here.

As always, I look forward to sharing thoughts about the court process beforehand with my colleagues to all students. We enjoy the questions asked by the student participants.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

You Be the Judge

The 2012 Summer Olympics has ended but interest in athletics remains timeless. Athletics inspired a legal issue for Ohioans to think about.

Is playing high school sports a right or a privilege? That’s a question being posed to students at a newly revised display in the Visitor Education Center here at the Moyer Judicial Center.

This case came before the Ohio Supreme Court in 1981 after high school students who attended a Cincinnati private school but lived in Kentucky were prevented from playing junior varsity or varsity sports because a state rule limited eligibility to children of Ohio residents. The Kentucky students went to court claiming the rule violated their constitutional right to education and equal protection under the law.

What do you think? Is playing school sports part of the right to an education?

You can book a tour with the Visitor Education Center to find out what the Ohio Supreme Court justices decided in this case.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Judges Using Facebook and Twitter Nationally

While students are more than comfortable with social media sites, a new national survey says more judges and courts are using Facebook and Twitter now too.

The 2012 Conference of Court Public Information Officers’ New Media and the Courts Survey shows how social media and broader technology changes in the media industry are affecting state and local judges and courts.

For instance, the percentage of judges who strongly agree that their own use of technology poses no threat to professional ethics has doubled since the first year of the survey. This applies whether the new media is used personally or professionally.

The complete project report, “2012 CCPIO New Media Survey, New Media and the Courts: The Current Status and A Look at the Future” is available on the CCPIO website at www.ccpio.org.