May 27, 2017
Justice Kennedy Speaks at Toledo Regional Association of Realtors Legislative Breakfast

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy delivered the keynote address at the Toledo Association of Realtors 2015 Legislative Breakfast on Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

In her speech entitled “The Ohio Judicial System and You,” Kennedy discussed the founding of the American republic, the constitution, and the separation of powers between the three independent and co-equal branches of government. She stated that all Americans as one people share a responsibility to engage government in order to protect their constitutional form of government.

“We do this,” Kennedy said, “by using our representative voice. By exercising our right to vote for those candidates who we believe will best represent our views and by picking up the phone and calling those representatives about the legal initiatives we believe will best shape our state and nation.”

However, when examining the role of the judiciary, she further expounded that in order for the American republic to survive, judges must respect the constitutional balance created by the founders and exercise judicial restraint. She referenced Alexander Hamilton’s words from Federalist Paper No. 78, as he wrote that the judicial branch of the proposed government would be the weakest of the three branches because it had “no influence over either the sword or the purse ... . It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment,” Kennedy quoted.

However, judicial activism is a powerful force that can reduce government by the people to a government of one, Kennedy said. As President Reagan stated at the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Justice Rehnquist and Associate Justice Scalia: “The Founding Fathers were clear on this issue. For them, the question involved in judicial restraint was not—as it is not—will we have liberal or conservative courts? …The question was and is, will we have government by the people?”

Justice Kennedy is serving her second term on the Supreme Court of Ohio. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, she served on the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division from 1999 to 2012. She 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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