February 19, 2014
Justice Kennedy Speaks at University of Cincinnati College of Law

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy spoke to law students at the University of Cincinnati College of Law on Wednesday, February 19, 2014. She described her personal journey from law school to becoming one of the seven justices to sit on Ohio’s highest court.

“I never thought as I sat in this very hall taking criminal procedure from Professor Alpin that I would ever serve as a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court,” Justice Kennedy said. “But like the Robert Frost poem ‘The Road Not Taken’, dreams and opportunities in life build upon one another. As each new opportunity is revealed, one should consider the question: ‘What If?’ That’s how a police officer found her way into law school, to law clerking, to private practice, to trial court, and then serving as the 154th justice of Supreme Court of Ohio.”

She told students that the recipe for achieving their dreams, whatever they are, can be summed up in this way: it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or whether you are rich or poor. Everyone can achieve their American Dream as long as they decide and commit, work hard, and have fortitude.

Justice Kennedy also fielded questions from the audience. Responding to a question about how she overcomes setbacks, she urged students not to allow disappointments to control their outlook and perspective.

“You mentally put them in their proper place. You get up and move on. As I ran for [Justice], there were a number of things that didn’t go my way. But setbacks do not decide whether or not you continue the journey. You get up and move on. That’s where fortitude comes in.”

She concluded by referencing motivational speaker Anthony Robbins: “When you have doubt or fear, concentrate on where you want to go—not on what you fear.”

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.

For a high-resolution, print-quality photo of Justice Kennedy, visit: http://www.sc.ohio.gov/PIO/news/images/justices/kennedy_highres.zip.