Chief Justice Shares Court Vision at Investiture Ceremony
By Csaba Sukosd | February 2, 2023
Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy says her new role is the "greatest honor of her life." She celebrated that accomplishment surrounded by family, friends, and colleagues while sharing her goals for strengthening the state justice system.
"I would like to thank my parents, for teaching me to live with grit, to chase my dreams unburdened by the negativity of others, and the achievement principles to live by - decide and commit, work hard, have fortitude," said Chief Justice Kennedy.
The Butler County native shared the spotlight with those closest to her as she was ceremonially sworn in as the Supreme Court's 11th chief justice. Among the hundreds of people in attendance were retired Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton who administered the oath, and Chief Justice Kennedy's niece Alyse Pasternak holding the Bible.
"It's just this wonderful moment that I'm so happy to be a part of for her," said Pasternak. "She's so inspiring and such a wonderful person to have in your life."
Along with her parents, she credits retired Butler County Common Pleas Judge Matthew Crehan's guidance for her career achievements. She said he was the first person who believed that she could become a justice, and swore her into office back in 2015. Crehan passed away the day before the ceremony.
"His integrity, intelligence, and work ethic are how I have modeled my career," said the chief justice as she wore the robe he gifted to her.
As a justice for the past ten years, Chief Justice Kennedy has connected with people in all 88 counties to better understand the issues facing their communities. One of the priorities statewide is for courts to become more efficient. The chief justice firmly believes in a person's constitutional right to have cases heard in a timely manner. One of her missions this year is to speak with all presiding and administrative judges and judges of the court to explore ways to improve case management and reduce backlogs.
"Access to justice is more than just the ability to file a case in court, it includes the right to have cases heard in a timely manner," Chief Justice Kennedy said.
Her other initiatives include developing youth mentorship programs to steer juveniles away from the justice system. She also wants to increase support for substance use, mental health, and veterans treatment courts. And for all offenders who have achieved life stored, her goal is to find ways for them to "live life restored" through re-entry with community support to address housing, employment, and other concerns.
"It is a new day at the Ohio Supreme Court and together building collaborative problem-solving teams, we will find local solutions for local problems, and address the challenges that every court faces together," said Chief Justice Kennedy.
Chief Justice Kennedy has been working on measures to improve the justice system in Ohio for 37 years. From a Hamilton police officer to Butler County judge and now chief justice, her focus has always been serving the law, constitution, and the people she swears to represent.
"I promise to humbly serve each and every Ohioan with a full heart and a steady moral compass," she said.