Thursday, February 28, 2013

Supreme Court Justices’ Athletic Feats Recounted on First Day of Arnold Sports Festival

The 25th Arnold Sports Festival kicks off today in Columbus. The festival will feature more than 18,000 athletes from 80 nations competing in 45 sports and events, including 12 Olympic sports.

Normally associated with bodybuilding, the festival’s other sports bring to mind the athletic feats of two former Justices on the Ohio Supreme Court.
Justice Francis Sweeney played professional football in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders as a defensive tackle from 1956 to 1958. Justice Sweeney served on the Supreme Court from January 1993 to December 2004. Perhaps his most significant contribution while a member of the court was his majority opinion in DeRolph v. State (1997), the first school funding decision.
Justice Arthur H. Day set an unofficial world record in the 40-yard dash as a varsity sprinter at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1909. After his graduation from Ohio Wesleyan, he was appointed to the Cleveland Boxing Commission in 1914. Justice Day served on the court from January 1935 to December 1940.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Classroom Resources Available to Learn About Historic Case

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, a landmark case that recognized the responsibility of state courts to provide counsel for indigent defendants.

The U.S. Courts website has unveiled a series of courtroom-ready and classroom-ready activities to provide a teen-age perspective on the case, which was decided on March 18, 1963.

Students can read a summary about the case, reenact the story of Clarence Gideon, and put themselves in a similar situation through a realistic scenario where they might need a public defender.
The activities provide a great opportunity to learn about the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. Enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Comparing Notes with a Judge from China

A few days ago Judge Caiyan Yan from China visited the Ohio Supreme Court. Judge Yan is a member of the Higher People’s Court in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province approximately 915 miles southwest of Beijing.

Judge Yan observed three oral arguments at the Thomas J. Moyer Judicial Center on February 5. Two days later, I welcomed her in my chambers for an informal conversation about the similarities and differences in our judicial systems. She had many questions about what she observed here at the Supreme Court of Ohio and the other courts she had visited throughout her stay in the United States.

We talked for about an hour through the help of an interpreter. Both of us had questions for the other about what it was like to serve as a judge in our country.

Judge Yan has served on the Higher People’s Court since 2005, after she received her master’s degree in law from Wuhan University. Her primary judicial role is to review administrative law and procedural matters for the court.

Judge Yan was very interested in discussing dispute resolution because she oversees the resolution of disputes between bureaucracies. She said that in China, officials encourage judges to use mediation and other similar means to resolve civil disputes. I expressed my view: Mediation is successful when both parties leave the table equally unhappy with an agreement because that means they each had to compromise on strongly held positions.

Judge Yan also was interested in hearing about cases when public figures were involved. I stressed that officials here in the states do not receive special consideration: judges use the same rules for litigants whether they are rich or poor. We strive for equal justice under the law.

I enjoyed spending time with Judge Yan, having the opportunity to exchange ideas. Perhaps we will have the chance to meet again.  She, her husband, and their 8-year-old daughter will return to China at the end of the month.