Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ohio Lawyer Helped Write the 14th Amendment

Many prominent Ohioans have helped shape the foundation of the United States. You may not know that an Ohio congressman was the main writer of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

John Bingham, a prominent lawyer, judge, and Ohio congressman served as a judge advocate in the Abraham Lincoln assassination trial and as a prosecutor in Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trials. He died in Cadiz, Ohio in 1900. 

Although the Fourteenth Amendment has five separate sections, the words most often quoted come from section one:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” 

This language has been interpreted many times by the U. S. Supreme Court in landmark cases such as Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade.  And recently in Obergefell v. Hodges, the court relied on the amendment in a 5-4 decision that guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry.

The Fourteenth Amendment was passed by Congress on June 13, 1866, and ratified on July 9, 1868. The words that John Bingham helped write have great vitality, living on nearly 150 years later.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

National Judicial College Hours Count for Ohio Judges

As students and teachers head back to the classroom over the next month, Ohio judges also have education on their minds.

Every two years, all judges in the Buckeye state must complete 40 hours of continuing judicial education. Ten of those 40 CLE hours are required to come from instruction offered by the Ohio Supreme Court Judicial College. Those 10 hours can now also be offered by the National Judicial College (NJC).  Judges can receive up to one Ohio Judicial College credit hour for each hour of instruction for a maximum of 10 Judicial College credit hours.

The Ohio Supreme Court recently adopted the new amendment, which takes effect Aug. 17.

This rule will bring new opportunities to judges who wish to experience courses beyond the state level. And, I’m happy to have more Ohio judges join me in learning at the NJC.

I received my Master of Judicial Studies in 1992 from the College and University of Nevada, and later joined the NJC faculty where I teach a variety of courses including a week-long course on Ethical Issues in the Law next scheduled for September 2016.

NJC courses, originally held only in Nevada, now have branched out to other locations. Subjects range from the rule of law to the newest improvements in court technology – all offering the exchange of ideas and collaboration with judges from other states.

Last year the NJC celebrated its 50th anniversary in judicial education.