Speeches

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor
Take Your Child to Work Day
Oct. 8, 2018

(Remarks prepared for delivery on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.)

Good morning. I’m Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.

Thank you for attending the Supreme Court’s Take Your Child to Work Day event.

How many have attended this event here before?

It’s great to see so many repeat visitors here today!

We have 40 participants who are the sons and step-sons, daughters and step-daughters, and nieces and nephews of Supreme Court employees and those of our affiliated offices.

As part of this group, we have students as young as 9 and as old at 15.

I hope you are enjoying your day so far. We have plenty more activities planned for you.

I understand there’s going to be a law library scavenger hunt and also, you are going to have to solve a mystery.

I hope when you came in the front door, you noticed the very sharp looking security officers.

They are an important part of what we do here, making sure that we are secure.

I’m sure when you came in the door, you noticed the beautiful historic building.

This is where your parents come every day to support our judicial system and I have the privilege of working as the Chief Justice.

As the Chief Justice, I get to sit in the best seat in the house when we hold oral arguments.

That seat would be the one in the middle behind me on the bench.

Three Justices sit on my right, and three Justices sit on my left.

We all ask questions of the attorneys that come to argue at the podium.

First we have one side present their arguments for a short 15 minutes then the other side gets 15 min.  Last the first side gets a few minutes more to end the oral argument.

It all sounds very orderly doesn’t it?  Well it’s not sometimes. 

Sometimes two or three justices will start to ask an attorney a question at the same time.  The poor lawyer doesn’t know who to look at or speak to.

Sometimes I have to ask the justices to take their turn but most of the time the justices will allow another justice to go first.  Especially If they are more senior ... meaning they’ve been on the court the longest.

After the oral arguments are over the 7 justices go up to the 9th floor to our conference room and we discuss the cases and try to come to the right answer.  The majority rules, so if 4 say one answer and 3 say another answer, the case is decided by what the 4 say. How many of you like to spend the day in school and then get tons of homework? Well would it make you feel any better if you knew that the justices and clerks do a lot of homework too?

It’s true ... Not only do we work Monday thru Friday but a lot of time is spent on weekends working on cases and opinions.

It’s not the kind of job that many would like, but the justices do because we like reading and learning about the law; some like a challenge; and some place a high value on being a public servant and that’s what keeps them coming back for more.

I’m sure that there are many who have been here many times and for some it might be your first time. Whatever time it is for you, I think that you will have to agree that whomever brought you here today works in a pretty cool building. 

We have over 250 people working here and each one contributes to the success of the judicial branch of our government.  Earlier you saw some of the divisions and offices in this building and of course you know what your parent or step parent or aunt or uncle or grandparent does at the court.

I’ve said it before and it is true today ... the business of the court could not get done without the good work done by your relatives.

They, just like me, are public servants.  They have chosen a career that allows them to do work to serve the men and women of Ohio through our judicial branch. 

Some work in high positions in the administrative offices.  They know so much about running the business of the courts and are tasked with making decisions that help to run the judicial branch;

Some are lawyers who are the lawyers for the court.  I work with these lawyers every day and I have to tell you that they give me great advice and keep me from making too many mistakes;

Some do work that makes it possible for people to bring their problems to court. They do this by filing papers explaining their issues and what they want the court to do for them; These members of the Clerk of Courts office interact with the public and guide the filings and make sure that the cases are processed to come before the justices.

Some work to help law students who have graduated from law school register and take the Bar exam which is a super duper 3 day test that a law grad must take in order to become a lawyer.

Some work in the Office of the Disciplinary counsel and for the Board of Professional conduct, these folks make sure that lawyers and judges follow the rules of professionalism and take care in representing their clients;

Some work in the fiscal office and they manage our money, pay our bills, make sure we receive the money we deserve form the treasurer and make sure that we stay within our budget.

Some work in Human resources and they help employees with information about employment; benefits, details of the job; training, and so much more.

Some work as administrative assistants and that is just what it says, they help with the administrative duties.  No division head, director, manager etc. could do their jobs without administrative assistants.

Some work in judicial services and they help all of the 722 judges that we have in Ohio.  There is a lot to being a judge and judicial services is always ready to help a judge learn their job and improve their knowledge and what it takes to be a judge.

Some work in The Judicial College ... believe it or not but judges, magistrates and even justices have to take classes every year to learn about the ever changing law and best practices. 

Some work to keep this building in tip top shape so that all the systems are working, what needs to be fixed is fixed and the many many rooms are  as beautiful today as the day we first came to this building in February of 2004.

Some work to keep the outside of our building as beautiful as the inside.  This building is the symbol of the judiciary and it wouldn’t do to have it looking anything but spectacular

Some work to keep us all safe and monitor who comes into this government building;

Some work to keep our communication system and our computer systems not only up and running but are constantly working on projects to make it better and better.

Of course some keep track of the thousands and thousands of books in our library, help the public when they come into our beautiful library; research so many topics that I couldn’t begin to name them all;

Some work as law clerks and master commissioners and reporters and all of those smart lawyers help the justices in what we do.  They research and write and give the justices advice that helps us do what we are elected to do ... solve problems for people.

So you see that an awful lot goes into running the business of the Court. 

What the Supreme Court does and the decisions we make is important to all of the citizens of Ohio. But you what, too many people don’t know what the Supreme Court is or what we do. But you are among the citizens that do know about the Court, what we do and how important it is. You probably know more about the Supreme Court than most grown-ups in Ohio.

The Court is important and so too our your family members who work here.

You should be proud of them, and you should let them know it.

Thank you again for participating.

I’m happy to answer some questions before I administer the oath.

After that we’ll take a group selfie. God bless.