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.

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