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