September 26, 2014
Justice Kennedy Gives Keynote at Beavercreek Rotary

Image of Beavercreek Rotary Club President-Elect Dick Gould, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, and Beavercreek Rotary President Dave Haffey

From left: Beavercreek Rotary Club President-Elect Dick Gould, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, and Beavercreek Rotary Club President Dave Haffey.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy delivered the keynote speech during Beavercreek Rotary Club’s meeting on Friday, September 26, 2014.

Focusing on the Rotarian code of ethics known as the Four-Way Test, Justice Kennedy pointed out that the principles outlined in the test are reminiscent of what the founding fathers were thinking and debating on the floor of Independence Hall when founding this republic.

She encouraged those in attendance to actively apply the Four-Way Test and commented that, “If all of us live our lives in accordance with the Rotarian Code of Ethics—if we use truth to advance fairness for all people—it will build goodwill and better friendships and in the end be beneficial to all concerned.”

Justice Kennedy’s presentation was followed by a question and answer session during which she was asked to share her opinion on whether Ohioans should give up their right to vote for judges and move to an “appointment by panel” judicial selection process.

“In order to answer ‘yes’ to that question,” Justice Kennedy stated, “You have to be willing to surrender to the government one of your personal constitutional rights. In relinquishing your right you have to be willing to say that somehow the government can make a better decision than you can. As for myself, I will never concede a constitutional right to the government. Ever.”

She went on to state that in her view, it would be impossible to convene a 15-member judicial selection panel in which politics play no role.

“Whoever constructs the committee will inevitably have a political agenda and the members of the committee themselves will have a political agenda. One need look no further than the federal system to see the influence of politics in the selection of judges,” she said.

Justice Kennedy is serving her first term on the Supreme Court of Ohio. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy served on the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division from 1999 to 2012. Justice Kennedy served as the administrative judge there from 2005 until December 2012. Justice Kennedy began her career in the justice system as a police officer in Hamilton, Ohio. She received her law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

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