Speeches

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor
Justice Terrence O’Donnell Portrait Dedication Ceremony
Sept. 22, 2020

(Remarks delivered from the Supreme Court Courtroom on Sept. 22, 2020, to a virtual audience)

Good morning everyone.

Welcome to the portrait dedication ceremony for Terrence O’Donnell, the 149th Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

As you can see, we are doing things much differently than the portrait dedication ceremonies we’ve held in the past, due to the current global pandemic. 

During a normal time, the courtroom would be filled and Justice O’Donnell along with friends, family and colleagues would be here in the Courtroom with me. 

Knowing him as I do, we’d be listening to the Cleveland Pipe and Drum Corp pipe us in with their bagpipes wearing kilts.

But current social distancing rules make that impossible, I’m afraid.

In his absence, three of his children and three of his grandchildren are here today to help unveil the portrait, and I’m grateful that the O’Donnell name is well-represented.

The unveiling ceremony we are holding today is of huge importance.

Terry was an incredible force on the Court for 15 years.

Terry joined the Court a few months after I did In 2003.

Looking back, I’m sure TOD would agree that it was a special era….

I’m referring to the incredible experience of working with the late Chief Justice Tom Moyer.

We saw firsthand how humble and accessible Tom was.

What a mild-mannered Chief could accomplish because he had an incredible ability to work with people.

The Moyer Court was collegial and while we worked hard we also enjoyed socializing on Tuesday evenings with group dinners. 

While Chief Justice Moyer created the Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism, it was Terry who not only served on this commission, but who tirelessly supported its work.

He was instrumental in the creation of the Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program.

It’s one of the most-impressive mentoring programs in the nation.

It began in 2006 as a pilot and became a permanent program in 2008 – pairing experienced lawyers with newly minted attorneys for one-year. Helping with the transition from student to practicing lawyer.

It is an excellent program that not only benefits the new lawyer but the mentors say they learn and grow along with their mentees.

That is a legacy that Justice O’Donnell should be very proud of.

Justice O’Donnell also had the unique distinction of having worked in all three buildings where the Court has been housed.

When he was a mere sprat, he clerked for Justice Corrigan when the court was house at the Ohio Statehouse Annex.

Our former site until 2004, The third floor of the Rhodes Tower

And here, at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.

Justice O'Donnell also served as chairman of the Ohio Legal Rights Service Commission, which oversees the protection and advocacy of the developmentally disabled and mentally ill statewide.

He was a past member of the board of trustees of Our Lady of the Wayside, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the needs of the mentally and physically challenged where his brother, John, lived for 10 years until he passed away in 2011.

One of his most notable accomplishments is his position of director emeritus of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Rain, sleet, or snow couldn’t stop Terry or the parade.

Justice O’Donnell is a man who is devoted to his family, his profession, his community and his religion.

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce Father Hugh McGuigan.

Father McGuigan is pastor of Our Lady of Light Catholic Community in Fort Myers, Florida.

He will deliver this morning’s invocation.

(Father McGuigan First Video)

Thank you, Father.

I also have the honor today of introducing former Justice and currently the Speaker of the House, Robert Cupp, who will deliver brief remarks.

(Speaker Cupp Video)

Thank you, Speaker Cupp.

At this time, I invite three of Justice O’Donnell’s children and grandchildren to come forward for the presentation of the portrait.

(Terrence O’Donnell, Jr., grandchildren Terrence III, Charlie, & Claire, Judge Colleen O’Donnell, and Nora O’Donnell move to the area next to the lectern. The portrait is unveiled by the children.)

It is now my distinct honor to introduce Justice Terry O’Donnell, who will share a few remarks.

Terry…

(Justice O’Donnell Video)

Thank you, Terry….

Now, Father, please deliver the benediction

(Father McGuigan Second Video)

Thank You, Father

This concludes our program.

Thank you all for watching.

And thank you to the O’Donnell family for being here during this special occasion.

Marshal, please adjourn Court.