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Court Names Ohio Judicial Center in Honor of Justice Moyer

The Ohio Judicial Center will be named in honor of the late Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, who served the second-longest period as top state jurist in Ohio’s history. The state Supreme Court approved the new name for the Judicial Center.

Justice Moyer, according to a Columbus Dispatch article, “is credited with making Ohio’s court system more open and responsive to the public, and bringing greater professionalism, discipline and accountability to the practice of law.” Justice Moyer was a founding member of Justice at Stake’s board of directors.

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OH Justice Takes Aim at Court’s Chief

A candidate for chief justice in Ohio has likened that court, with her opponent at the helm, to a “rudderless ship.”

“I believe that, at this point, the Ohio Supreme Court is akin to a rudderless ship without a leader, without direction, and post-Nov. 2 [Election Day] that will change,” Justice Maureen O’Connor told the editorial board of the Vindicator newspaper.

A Republican, Justice O’Connor is running against newly appointed Chief Justice Eric Brown, who recently was named by the governor to fill a vacancy  created by the death of then-Chief Justice Thomas Moyer.

When contacted by the newspaper, Justice Brown said, “I have been an effective leader on the court. … My style is very hands-on. I don’t lead by press conference. I work with others to come up with solutions to problems. Certainly, there’s a lot of talk this campaign season.” He is a Democrat.

Last month, the pair clashed in a meeting with the editorial board of the Columbus Dispatch. Justice Brown said his opponent should not have cast a vote in a decision lifting restraints on judicial candidate fundraising, because she is running for re-election. Justice O’Connor labeled Justice Brown a “middle-aged white male” and pointed out that if elected, she would be Ohio’s first female chief justice.

To learn more about the state Supreme Court elections in Ohio, check out Justice at Stake’s Ohio news page.

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OH Chief Justice Personally Pitched Fundraiser

Chief Justice Eric Brown, newly named as Ohio’s top jurist, has made a personal telephone pitch inviting people to attend a campaign fundraiser.

For judicial candidates, “direct solicitation and receipt of campaign contributions is prohibited under the state’s judicial code of conduct,” according to a Dayton Daily News article. Justice Brown is a Democrat, and the Ohio Republican Party released an audio recording of his making a solicitation call, the Associated Press reported.

An Ohio Republican Party spokesman said the GOP was weighing whether to file a disciplinary complaint.

An adviser to the Brown campaign said the candidate did not break the rules. He was encouraging attendance, not asking directly for campaign contributions, the adviser said. Read more

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Monday Media Summary


ABC News: Poll: Public Gives President Obama Latitude in Supreme Court Nomination
MIKE MOKRZYCKI – 4/30/2010

NY Times/The Caucus: Obama Interviews Potential Supreme Court Nominees

Wall Street Journal: Search for Supreme Court Nominee Advances (subscription required)
LAURA MECKLER – 5/1/2010

FOX News: Obama Interviews Solicitor General Elena Kagan for Supreme Court

Washington Post;/Reuters: Clinton says not interested in Supreme Court job


LA Times: Supreme Court waits for Kagan
David G. Savage – 4/30/2010

National Review Online/Bench Memos: Ninth Circuit Judge Sidney ThomasËœPart 1
Ed Whelan – 4/30/2010

Philadelphia Inquirer: Closing Arguments: Supreme Court sanity calls for filibusters
John Yoo – 5/2/2010
Read more…

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Several Tributes Sought to Honor Moyer

Some Republican state senators are urging the renaming of the Ohio Judicial Center  in honor of the late Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, and they also are proposing that a commission be set up to recommend judicial appointees to the governor.

Gov. Ted Strickland earlier had recommended renaming of the building, which houses the state Supreme Court. That court would have to approve a name change, according to a Columbus Dispatch article.

To honor Justice Moyer by carrying out some of the changes he had backed, a Republican sponsor said, the proposal would do several things–including setting up a judicial review commission to give Ohio’s governor recommendations for judicial appointments.

Strickland voluntarily makes use of such a commission, the newspaper said, although that was not the case when he picked Franklin County probate judge Eric Brown to complete Justice Moyer’s term.

Justice Moyer was a founding member of Justice at Stake’s board of directors.

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Friday Media Summary


NY Times/The Caucus: A Brisk First Round on Supreme Court Search

CNN/Political Ticker: Judges, politicians on latest list of high-court contenders
Bill Mears – 4/22/2010

USA Today: Likely candidates to replace Supreme Court Justice Stevens
Joan Biskupic – 4/22/2010


Politics Daily: Supreme Court Watch: Nine Questions the President Should Ask Nominees
Andrew Cohen – 4/23/2010


Wall Street Journal: Democrats Aim to Tap Populist Anger in High-Court Fight
JESS BRAVIN – 4/23/2010

Christian Science Monitor: Obama: ‘civil, thoughtful’ hearings on new Supreme Court justice
Linda Feldmann – 4/21/2020

USA Today/The Oval: Obama does phone work on Supreme Court pick
David Jackson – 4/21/2010

Dallas Morning News: Obama calls Cornyn about Supreme Court choice
TODD J. GILLMAN – 4/23/2010

Read more…

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OH Governor Appoints New Chief Justice

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has named a fellow Democrat, Franklin County probate judge Eric Brown (photo at left), to serve as Ohio’s Supreme Court chief justice. He will serve the remainder of the term of the late Chief Justice Thomas Moyer.

Brown will take office May 3. It will be the first time since 1986 that a Democrat will lead the state Supreme Court, according to a Columbus Dispatch article. He will be the only Democrat on a court with six Republican justices.

Brown and Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican and former lieutenant governor, are running for election in November for a six-year term as chief justice. To learn about tributes paid to the late Chief Justice Moyer, a founding board member of Justice at Stake, check out earlier Gavel Grab posts.

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Monday Media Summary


National Law Journal: Big Money Already Flowing Into Judicial Elections
Eliza Newlin Carney – 4/12/2010

Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Judicial elections should be reformed
David Hampton – 4/11/2010


Washington Post: Federal judge orders release of Guantanamo Bay
Peter Finn – 4/10/2010

ACLU: Guantánamo Prisoner Successfully Challenges Unlawful Detention
Press Release – 4/9/2010

Times Online: George W. Bush ‘knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent’
Tim Reid – 4/9/2010

RT: Official says Guantanamo detainees were held without cause

Jurist/Paper Chase: Guantanamo habeas rulings made public
Dwyer Arce – 4/11/2010

Andy Worthington: Guantánamo and Habeas Corpus: The Torture Victim and the Taliban Recruit

Philadelphia Inquirer: The Point: U.S. must not blow a huge opportunity
Mark Bowden – 4/11/2010

The Guardian: The ‘Obama doctrine’: kill, don’t detain
Asim Qureshi – 4/11/2010

Government Accountability Project: GAP Opposes Bringing Unjust Guantanamo Bay Practices to Illinois Prison
Kathleen McClellan – 4/9/2010


NY Times: Big MoneyÂ’s Alarming Political Edge
Editorial – 4/11/2010

National Law Journal/Under The Influence: Schumer-Van Hollen Bill Not Likely Before Midterms
Ashlie Rodriguez – 4/9/2010

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Honoring Justice Moyer

The flags flew at half-staff in Columbus today to honor Thomas Moyer, who died recently in the final months of his final term, after 23 years as chief justice (see Gavel Grab). The line of mourners spilled out of the Ohio Judicial Center on to the sidewalk, waiting in the cold—38 degrees and gusty—to pay their respects.

Inside the courtroom, a black robe was draped over the chief justice’s chair. Moyer’s wife and family received visitors as the other justices stood nearby. A modest casket, swathed with an Ohio flag, sat up front, just past the railing.

I had come out of admiration and fondness. Justice Moyer was a founding member of Justice at Stake’s board of directors. He relished working for fair courts (“it was his passion,” one judge told me in line). Despite his high perch, Justice Moyer tended to board matters large and small, sending the occasional ‘Thank you’ or ‘Good job’ that showed that yes, he was reading all those e-mails.

At board meetings and national events, Justice Moyer’s was typically the gentlest voice in the room. He never wanted to pull rank, and never needed to. “When I was growing up,” his son Drew told me today, “the lesson he taught was that no matter how famous you are, you only put on your pants one leg at a time.”

Indeed, what struck me was how a variety of people from the legal world—magistrates, specialty court officials, attorneys from the solicitor general’s office—told me the same story. Each was surprised and gratified at how a chief justice could be so conscientious and attentive to his or her issues.

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Tribute to Justice Moyer is Recommended

To honor Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, who died last week (see Gavel Grab), the state’s governor is recommending the renaming of the Ohio state Supreme Court building after him.

“It was a building that he loved, that he worked so hard to have restored,” Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said, according to an article in ABA Journal.

Meanwhile the Cleveland Morning Journal published an editorial calling for removal of politics from the appointment of a successor to Justice Moyer. He championed for years the appointment, rather than election, of individuals to state judicial posts, the editorial noted.

It urged that Strickland keep the court at a reduced size for the remainder of the year, until after an already scheduled election to fill Justice Moyer’s seat, or appoint a true “caretaker” chief justice “who won’t turn such an important appointment into a political springboard.”

Justice Moyer was a founding member of Justice at Stake’s board of directors.

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