Thousands Flock to Supreme Court in Spring
By Csaba Sukosd | May 14, 2019
Spring is arguably the most inviting time of year to simply get out and wander. For visitors to the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, the warmer weather is just one reason why the three-month stretch is undoubtedly the building's busiest season.
Annually, the home of the Ohio Supreme Court averages more than 13,000 sightseers with approximately 8,000 of those in March, April, and May. The overwhelming majority who tour the state's court of last resort are students from across Ohio - at more than 10,000 each year.
"The artwork is just so unique. You wouldn't expect to see it from anywhere else other than at a museum," said Hunter Jones, a student at Crestview Middle School in northwest Ohio.
The students, from elementary school all the way to law school, tend to tour the Court on field trips later in the spring as a way to encapsulate what they've learned as part of their civic education throughout the academic year.
The tour guides typically are volunteers, but many times members of the Court will contribute, including the justices. During a recent visit by second-graders from Cincinnati Country Day, Justice Patrick Fischer - a fellow Queen City native - quizzed the kids on their civic smarts, as a young girl marveled at the majestic décor after witnessing oral arguments in the main Courtroom.
"It is pretty. It's a great place to work," Justice Fischer responded.
However, children aren't the only ones learning about the building and the judiciary.
Dan Kieffer, a retired court director of Muskingum County Juvenile Court, has visited the Ohio Judicial Center numerous times. He does so on behalf of Leadership Muskingum - an annual program that teaches students and young professionals how to be leaders in the community and workforce. Every year, he brings a group so they can get a better understanding of the state high court's purpose.
"When you get to the Supreme Court, I don't think people have a clear understanding of what the judicial process is," Kieffer said.
While repeat visitors develop connections at the Court, many times tour groups already have one established through hometown ties. Master commissioner Greg Matthews is from Convoy in northwest Ohio. Three decades after attending Crestview Middle School, Matthews told kids currently attending the school about his story of what it took to get from the small community to the Supreme Court.
"I've always thought about being a lawyer," said Crestview student Olivia Ramos. "I think this has really brought it to life."