Chief Justice Awarded Ohio's Top Legal Honor
By Csaba Sukosd | May 20, 2019
Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor has devoted her career to improving the justice system. It's a passion that resulted in her receiving the state's highest legal honor.
Chief Justice O'Connor was awarded the Ohio Bar Medal at the Ohio State Bar Association's (OSBA) annual meeting last week.
"It encapsulates somebody who cares about the law, who cares about the legal system, and cares about people," Justice Patrick Fischer, a former OSBA president. "It is really about the best person for the law in the state of Ohio."
Throughout her distinguished legal path to the Supreme Court, which included positions as a magistrate, judge, county prosecutor, and lieutenant governor, Chief Justice O'Connor has used her platforms for justice reform - both in Ohio and nationally.
"I've always admired how tireless she is," said Justice Michael Donnelly. "She just has an abundance of energy, and there are a variety of different reforms that she's passionate about."
Among those initiatives are access to justice, bail reform, and utilizing the courts as a means to treat drug addiction.
"Chief Justice O'Connor has been a champion for the people, and particularly, for the most vulnerable among us," said OSBA President Robin Weaver.
Even though she's been at the forefront of fairness for all people who go through the courts, Chief Justice O'Connor's greatest satisfaction came when the legal community stood together in support of Issue 1 last fall.
"I'm most proud of what we have accomplished," Chief Justice O'Connor said. "Lawyers, judges, advocates, and treatment providers coming together to ensure the right response to addiction, and that response will be there for those who need it in years to come."
Chief Justice O'Connor became the eighth member of the Court to be honored in the award's 53-year history, following former justices J.J.P. Corrigan, Robert Duncan, Leonard Stern, Robert Holmes, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, and chief justices C. William O'Neill and Thomas Moyer.
Even though the accolade is associated with being a lifetime achievement award, Chief Justice O'Connor doesn't intend to slow down her efforts to help facilitate change for the better.
"I will continue to champion what I know is right, and do so, I hope, with a sense of reason, respect, and civility," Chief Justice O'Connor said. "That's how I'd like my time on the bench to be remembered."