Cattlemen See Court's Deep Connection to Agriculture During Visit with Justice French
By Csaba Sukosd | February 11, 2019
Every now and then, a tour group comes to the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center whose work also serves the public. Rarely are such visitors as connected with the building as the most recent herd.
The Ohio Cattlemen's Association (OCA) - a non-profit membership organization that represents the interests of farm families who raise cattle - recently visited the Ohio Supreme Court for a personalized tour as it took stock of how the group's concerns are steered through the judicial system.
"There a lot of things that are in play and very important to us. It's really neat to sit here, look at this, and see how it works," said Sasha Rittenhouse, the group's president. "There's a lot of things that affect agriculture and us as cattlemen. There's a lot of water rights issues, water quality issues. I mean, everything affects agriculture one way or another."
The first portion of the tour included a detailed explanation by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French about the three-tiered judicial system - trial court, appellate court, and Supreme Court - in Ohio, as well as some of her more memorable cases.
"There was allegedly a hotel that had scabies. So, for the next week¿ we were itching like crazy," said Justice French.
As part of the tour, the cattlemen got an unexpected meet-and-greet with Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor on their way to Justice French's chambers for a rare look at how her office operates.
"Having the accessibility to the justices, and their willingness to talk to our groups and host our group is just second to none. We're very lucky," said association member Erin Stickel.
During the second half of the tour, the OCA heard about the building's history, which has a strong connection to their work. Built in 1933, much of the building's design and interior pays direct homage to how farms shaped Ohio - both socially and economically.
"We were quite surprised at just the vast references to agriculture. Literally, every detail goes back to a wheat shaft or an ear of corn," said Stickel.
"You live it and you breathe it every day, and you sometimes forget how instrumental it is and how instrumental it was all the way back to the beginning of time," added Rittenhouse.
Learning about how the state handles its affairs was an "udderly" enlightening exchange for the cattlemen, who also know how to "a-moos" visitors looking to get a grasp on farm life.
"We're always trying to bring folks from the city in and show them, how we do it, and why we do it, and there's a lot of them going, 'Oh, wow! I didn't realize that.' And it was the same for us today," Rittenhouse said.