September 30, 2014
Justice Kennedy Visits New Bremen-New Knoxville Rotary

Image of New Bremen-New Knoxville Rotarian Don Kuck and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy

Rotarian Don Kuck with Justice Kennedy.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy addressed members of the New Bremen-New Knoxville Rotary on Tuesday, September 30, 2014.

Her presentation focused on the Rotary Four-Way Test—the code of ethics used by Rotarians worldwide to guide both personal and professional relationships. The Four-Way Test asks the questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? And will it be beneficial to all concerned? These questions, Justice Kennedy pointed out, are reminiscent of the founding principles of America.

“When I think about Rotary and think about the Four-Way Test, I immediately think of the birth of this nation,” Justice Kennedy said. “The principles described there are the same principles I believe the founding fathers were thinking of when they established our system of government.”

During a brief question and answer session following Justice Kennedy’s presentation, one Rotarian asked her who was behind the recent initiative to remove Ohio’s judicial elections from the ballot, replacing it with judicial “appointment-by-panel.” Justice Kennedy attributed the push to the Ohio State Bar Association and the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

When asked whether she thought Ohioans should continue to vote for judges, her answer was a resounding yes.

“Picture it like this,” Justice Kennedy said. “When you’re faced with someone who says we should just let the government choose judges, they’re effectively saying this: Approximately 75 percent of the electorate vote in judicial elections. For those 75 percent, we’re going to take away their constitutional right because the other 25 percent failed to do their civic duty. Once you frame it in that context, how can you say you want to strip 75 percent of the electorate of their right because of the other 25 percent?”

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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