William M. O'Neill took the oath of office on Thursday in a ceremony before family and friends at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse. He will officially take office on January 2.
"I leave the life of a politician behind me with fond and warm memories, and I embark on the journey to become a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court with a sense of humility, gratitude, and eagerness. And this I pledge to you today: I will do my best," Justice-Elect O'Neill said.
Local judges joined in a robed procession for the occasion. Also participating was Tenth District Court of Appeals Judge Judith L. French, who was recently named by the governor as a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court beginning January 1.
Several hundred people were in attendance in the atrium of the historic Cuyahoga County Courthouse, as former Justice Alice Robie Resnick administered the oath of office.
Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor welcomed the Supreme Court's newest justice.
"My colleagues and I join your family, friends, and supporters in congratulating you and in welcoming you as a member of the Ohio Supreme Court," Chief Justice O'Connor said. "One thing you will learn very quickly is that collegiality is the guide post that directs the interaction of the justices on the court, and in the spirit of respectfulness we conduct our deliberations. We may agree to disagree on a case, sometimes even vigorously, but we work hard never to become disagreeable."
Justice-Elect O'Neill brings a unique and varied background to the Ohio Supreme Court. He is a former appeals court judge on the 11th District, a former army officer and Vietnam veteran, a registered nurse, and a single father of four.
He has been an apprentice Ironworker (Local 17); worked as a reporter for a small town newspaper (Sandusky Register); a television reporter for a major television station (Channel 4, Columbus); a union organizer for both the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO and the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA); a small business owner in Geneva On the Lake (O'Neill's Landing); and a small town lawyer (Geneva).