Melody J. Stewart
January 2, 2019 - Present
Melody Stewart was elected in November 2018 to a full term as the 161st Justice to serve on the Supreme Court of Ohio. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Justice Stewart served on the Eighth District Court of Appeals — elected to an unexpired term in 2006 and twice reelected to full terms. She served as the court’s Administrative Judge in 2013.
Justice Stewart has more than 30 years of combined administrative, legal, and academic experience. She was an administrator for a health care management company, a music teacher, a civil defense litigator, and a law school administrator and professor before being elected to the Court of Appeals. While on the Eighth District Court of Appeals, Justice Stewart was assigned to hear cases in other appellate districts and in the Ohio Supreme Court.
Justice Stewart earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati; her law degree as a Patricia Roberts Harris Fellow from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University; and her Ph.D. as a Mandel Leadership Fellow at Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Cleveland State University.
After practicing law as an assistant law director for the cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland, Justice Stewart worked as a lecturer, an adjunct instructor, and an assistant dean at Cleveland-Marshall before joining the full-time faculty. Additionally, she taught at the University of Toledo College of Law and at Ursuline College, and was director of student services at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law.
Justice Stewart has served on many boards and committees, including the Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee, the Ohio Supreme Court’s Judicial College board, was chair of the Ohio Capital Case Attorney Fee Council, and served as a commissioner and chair of the Board of Planning and Zoning for the city of Euclid. She has been a member of various professional, educational, civic, and community organizations.
Justice Stewart is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in Ohio, the District of Columbia, and the United States Supreme Court.
Of historical note: Justice Stewart is the first African-American woman elected to the Ohio Supreme Court.