Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Recess is Over

For many Ohio schools, a new year has begun, or will soon. The Supreme Court of Ohio also has been on its summer recess — its break from hearing new cases. But the recess ends next week when we justices are to hear oral arguments in eight cases.
Courtroom of the Supreme Court of Ohio
Courtroom of the Supreme Court of Ohio
at the Thomas J. Moyer
Ohio Judicial Center

We hear a variety of cases. Some come to us automatically and some are accepted as cases of  general or public interest.  Some have questions arising under the Ohio or U.S. Constitutions.  Others are cases in which two or more courts of appeals have issued conflicting opinions. From late August every year until June, oral arguments are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday mornings on the cases that the lawyers have briefed.

The lawyers for each side have 15 minutes to argue their positions. Each of the seven justices may ask questions at any time, and often a dynamic exchange occurs about the facts or law of the case being argued. The attorneys are signaled when they’re getting low on time: a yellow light signals that there are two minutes left, and a red light signals stop. The same morning after a case is argued, we deliberate and a justice is assigned to write the decision, in the form of an opinion, for the court. On average, an opinion is published within four to five months. 
I encourage you to watch streaming video of the arguments available through the Ohio Channel. It’s a great way to see your judicial system in action. You can then read the published opinion on our website,

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