Speeches

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor
Judicial-Legislative Exchange Program
May 3, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.

Thank you Paul (Pfeifer, Ohio Judicial Conference deputy director) for that introduction. It’s a pleasure to be here to recognize such a worthwhile program.

I applaud the judges and legislators who are participating.

My fellow judges are no doubt learning a thing or two about the legislative process by shadowing their home district legislators during a session day.

I would bet that legislators will come away with a better understanding of the judiciary by visiting courthouses across the state to shadow judges for a day.

While in different branches of government, we share a common goal: the fair and efficient administration of justice.

As you know, our branches cross paths on the interpretation and meaning of Ohio laws.

The Supreme Court, from time to time, suggests that the Legislature address problematic portions of a law by revising the legislation.

The judiciary is also engaged with the General Assembly in pushing legislation that can benefit courts or raising concerns about legislation that may have an adverse impact.

Beyond legislation, however, there are other opportunities for us to share ideas and solve problems.

We have many members of the General Assembly serving on Supreme Court boards, commissions, advisory committees, and task forces.

It would take too long to run through the list and name names.

Suffice it to say, that each one deserve our thanks and gratitude for taking us up on our offer to share their insight and expertise. It is appreciated.

Collaborating during the legislative process, the work on Court rules and issues, and this exchange program can only benefit us both.

We in the judicial branch gain understanding and insight into the legislative branch through these ventures.

Similarly, I’m hopeful that the new legislators will get to know their local judges.

They can be a great resource for you.

By reaching out, it fosters better relationships.

That is the bottom line: for participants to stand in the shoes of each other and see government from the other person’s eyes.

That view from the other person’s perspective can also drive home the fact that there are no easy decisions – whether it’s the budget, another piece of legislation, or a sentencing decision.

Each decision has consequences, some intended and some not.

By appreciating the viewpoints of each other, we can avoid misunderstandings.

Please don’t let your good work end here. Keep the lines of communication open even after this program concludes.

Thank you for your efforts to bridge the branches through your participation.

God bless.