Louis Jacob Schneider Jr.
b. Sept. 26, 1921
d. Dec. 15, 1999
122nd Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio
Term
November 1964
to Dec. 31, 1972

LOUIS JACOB SCHNEIDER JR.

Louis Jacob Schneider Jr’s service on the Supreme Court of Ohio represented a bygone era of Ohio state government when many elected officials commuted to Columbus and used their offices as studio apartments.

Schneider was born in Cincinnati on Sept. 26, 1921 to Louis J. and Florence Schneider. He was educated in Cincinnati public schools and attended Princeton University for two years in 1939-1941 before returning to Cincinnati and earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1943.

Following graduation, Schneider enlisted in the U.S. Army and was commissioned a first lieutenant. Schneider returned to Cincinnati after his discharge in 1946 and enrolled in the University of Cincinnati Law School and graduated with a law degree in 1949. He passed the Ohio bar examination that year and entered private law practice.

In 1952, Schneider co-authored with his father the first edition of Schneider’s Criminal Code. The book contained a concise annotated text of the Ohio Criminal Code and included pertinent statutes and applicable forms. Later editions were published in 1955, 1963 and 1965. The 1963 and 1965 publications also included police editions.

Before his election to the high Court, Schneider represented his hometown of Cincinnati in the Ohio General Assembly from 1951 to 1959, served as Hamilton County commissioner from 1959 to1963 and worked in Gov. James A. Rhodes’ first administration as tax commissioner from 1963 to1964.

In 1964, Schneider ran for the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice James Bell. Schneider defeated Gov. Michael V. DiSalle’s 1962 appointee, Justice Lynn Griffith, in that campaign. Schneider entered the campaign thinking that Justice Griffith’s age of 79-years-old would be a liability for Griffith and work to his advantage.

Schneider campaigned for a full six-year term in November 1966 and defeated Clifford F. Brown in the fall campaign. In a March 1972 interview, Schneider expressed the desire to return to the Supreme Court for second full term, feeling, he developed the expertise to hear and judge the variety of cases that go before the Court. In the interview, he also credited his association with Chief Justice Kingsley Taft and Justice C. William O’Neill as helping him to examine cases from both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s viewpoints. The November 1972 campaign was Justice Schneider’s only electoral setback: he was defeated by former 4th District Court of Appeals of Ohio Judge William B. Brown.  

One significant case during his tenure was In re Estate of Weiler (1966). Planned Parenthood Association of Columbus Inc. appealed to the Court seeking to overturn decisions from the 10th District Court of Appeals, the Franklin County Probate Court and the Board of Tax Appeals. The two courts and the board ruled that Planned Parenthood was not a charity and gifts, such as Charles Weiler’s bequest, were taxable under Ohio law. In their decisions, the two courts and the Board of Tax Appeals also contended that Planned Parenthood’s promotion and distribution of contraceptives and information on birth control violated its articles of incorporation and its actions offended the public peace.

Schneider wrote the majority opinion, concluding that Planned Parenthood “is an institution for purposes only a public charity.” Its actions did not offend the public policy of the state as expressed in Ohio Revised Code sections 2905.32 to 2905.37 (sections of the Revised Code that in 1966 concerned contraception and abortion). The Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the 10th District Court of Appeals, the Franklin County Probate Court and the Board of Tax Appeals.

Following his defeat in 1972, Schneider returned to Cincinnati and resumed private law practice.

Schneider married Ruth Ann Kirkendall on Sept. 5, 1947 and the couple had three children. Schneider died on Dec. 15, 1999. His body was cremated and interment was in Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery.