September 12, 2008
Chief Justice's Speech Highlights Beauty of the Law
~ written by The Supreme Court of Ohio
Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer delivered his annual State of the Judiciary address before the Ohio Judicial Conference on September 11, 2008. He spoke of the inspiration judges take from the beauty of the law and updated Ohio’s judges on major developments in the court system.
Chief Justice Moyer made the remarks in Dublin at the 2008 annual meeting of the Ohio Judicial Conference, which traditionally includes the State of the Judiciary speech.
He asked the audience a series of rhetorical questions about why they chose to become judges and then concluded with these statements: “We are judges because the law brings order from chaos,” Moyer said. “Like a brush stroke on canvas, law brings form to cloudy images of the mind. We are judges because of the beauty of law.”
Moyer offered that the beauty of law can be seen in a literal concrete sense – in the structure of Ohio’s courthouses and the exquisite artwork on display at the Ohio Judicial Center – as well as in the emotional overtones of a passionate closing argument or the carefully written brief.
“Those of us with years of practice have a well trained eye for the beauty of law in its daily practice, in the well crafted opinion or pleading,” Moyer said. “A skilled trial attorney arguing a case before a judge or jury can be a work of beauty.”
It’s not just those arguing before the court who can produce beauty in the law, the Chief Justice said. Courts themselves have a role. “I present my case to you that the beauty of law also is found in the written decisions of a court. Marbury v Madison is a clear, concise essay – one with a beginning, a middle and an end – that makes clear the authority of the judiciary.”
But beyond the courthouse façade, an attorney’s brief or a court’s opinion, the beauty of law can also be found in more down-to-earth, real-life situations, such as a drug court graduation ceremony, he said.
“The symmetry and order of fine artwork extends itself to the Elyria courtroom of Judge David Basinski,” Moyer said. “As a Family Court judge David is now able to remove a child from a threatening home and then place the young boy or girl in a safe, nurturing home…new authority that gives David a greater appreciation of the beauty of the law.”
The Chief Justice also shared accomplishments of the judiciary from the past year, including:
- Efforts by the court system to keep up and handle the continued increase in foreclosure cases in innovative ways, including the use of the Supreme Court’s model mediation program.
- Undergoing training to use the Ohio Courts Network, the statewide computer link that will provide the complete and timely exchange of case-related information.
- Continued work on establishing pilot projects in five counties to handle commercial litigation via specific commercial dockets.
- Participation from nearly every county in the Ohio Summit on Children to discuss collaborative efforts to improve services for children.
The Ohio Judicial Conference is an organization through which Ohio’s more than 700 judges work together to improve the administration of justice. The annual meeting brings together judges from across the state for judicial education and discussions about issues of common concern.