Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Federal Court Videos Look to Inspire

The United States Courts just released the newest video for its Pathways to the Bench series. The video series was created to inspire young adults, telling the personal stories of U.S. district, circuit, and appeals court judges from across the country. The stories reflect the influence of those who helped prepare these judges to serve on the federal bench.

Judge Reggie Walton, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, spoke both about his parents and one of his teachers, a coach and history teacher, giving them credit for his success in college and later as a federal district judge. Judge Walton emphasizes that everyone will be challenged sometime in life, but that a difficult background does not need to define who a person becomes.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Use New Website to Help Make Informed Decisions

On Nov. 3, there will be 56 municipal court judicial races in 29 Ohio counties. What do you know about the judicial candidates running for the bench in your area?

There may be multiple judicial races in a single county and several candidates running for each of those positions. This can be confusing for voters. JudicialVotesCount.org is a newly created website that will help you make an informed decision on Tuesday.

Each judicial candidate has provided personal legal background details so that you can more intelligently choose the next judge in your county. The website also explains the differences among all levels of Ohio courts.

Those of you who live in Ashtabula, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery, Stark, and Summit counties have contested races – more than one person seeks the same judgeship.

Judges can make life-altering decisions that may directly affect you. Please make an informed decision on Nov. 3 and VOTE!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Students to Attend Lecture on Justice Thurgood Marshall at Moyer Judicial Center

More than 200 high school students are expected to hear author Wil Haygood speak about Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American and 96th justice on the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 20. The lecture will be held at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center as part of the Forum on the Law Lecture Series.

Marshall was considered a giant in the civil rights movement and was the attorney who argued and won the U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the U.S. Supreme Court, he became an associate justice and served 24 years. 

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Thurgood Marshall

Haygood’s book “Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America” recounts the stop-at-nothing efforts by a group of Southern senators to deny Marshall’s confirmation. The history behind and culture of the 60’s are crucial to his story.

Haygood is a Franklin Heights High School graduate and Columbus native. For three decades, he was a reporter for the Boston Globe and the Washington Post, covering national and international stories. In 2008, he wrote the compelling story of Eugene Allen, the White House butler who served eight presidents over 34 years, the basis for the 2013 award-winning movie The Butler.

The program will the 13th Forum on the Law lecture. Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer established this series to reach out to the public by featuring regional or national speakers who address contemporary or historic legal topics.

Click here for an archived view of Mr. Haygood's presentation.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Looking at the Federal Court System

It is easy to be confused about the two separate court systems within the United States.

The Online Paralegal Programs website recently released a helpful infographic about the federal court system. Remember that although most cases are handled in state courts, violations of federal law are first tried in one of 94 U.S. District Courts. These cases, can later be appealed to one of the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeal and, potentially, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Although we at the Ohio Supreme Court accept about 10 percent of cases appealed to us, the U.S. Supreme Court takes less than 1 percent.
Look at the graphic of the Federal court system and compare it with Ohio’s court system. Notice the similarities and differences. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Look Inside a Federal Courtroom

Do you think of Law and Order when it comes your knowledge of the court system? How about that other Judge Judy or The Good Wife? Since the old days of Perry Mason and L.A Law, people have been influenced by how these shows portray judges, lawyers, and the legal system.  But everyone needs to remember that TV is entertainment, not real life. 

There are many places to find accurate information about the courts, though. The United States Courts website released a video that shows what actually happens in a federal courtroom. You can watch the students in the video as they explain a federal case and how a judge determines the final outcome. The “You Be the Judge” video series is highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Judicial Votes Count

With so much focus by the national media about next year’s presidential election, it might be easy to overlook the fact that there’s an election this year. 

The Nov. 3 ballot includes 56 municipal court judicial races in 29 Ohio counties. 

Unfortunately, many voters will not complete their ballot because they won’t cast a vote in the judicial races. A major reason cited for this drop-off in voting is because of a lack of information about the candidates running for judge. 

JudicialVotesCount.org is a new website designed to provide voters with the information they need to make an informed decision in judicial races. The candidates have provided details about their legal background and why they are running for the judgeship.

The website also contains valuable information about the important role of judges and the duties of courts at all levels in Ohio – something that teachers might find useful in their classroom instruction.

The website was developed by a partnership among Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, the Ohio Newspaper Association, and the Ohio Association of Broadcasters.

Voters should consider adding JudicialVotesCount.org to their list of resources for future elections. It’s a good way to get quality information about judicial candidates.

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.