On Tuesday, July 17, 2012, the Supreme Court of Ohio launched an expanded news program – Court News Ohio – that features stories about the Ohio judicial system. This archived page on the Supreme Court’s website only displays news stories that occurred before that date. News stories that occurred on July 17 and thereafter can be found at www.courtnewsohio.gov.

Remembrances and Tributes
Thomas J. Moyer
April 18, 1939 – April 2, 2010

Justice Paul E. Pfeifer
This is a devastating loss for his family, for the court, and for the people of Ohio.  And it’s a personal loss for me and all of our colleagues.  Tom had all the qualities you would want in a Chief Justice.  He was fair and deliberative.  He encouraged collaboration, and deeply valued collegiality.  Over time, he assembled a great staff, and he was respected and admired by everyone who worked in this building.  They genuinely liked the man, and I know they will miss him on a personal level.  But the court family will continue to represent him for years to come, and that’s one of his great legacies.  Another of his lasting legacies was pushing for the preservation of this building, and finding the Ohio judiciary a home of its own.  Tom was also a great Chief far beyond the confines of this building.  He was a tireless and diligent leader of the Ohio bench and bar.  He traveled around the world – Ukraine, Chile, and Argentina – lending his expertise to nations trying to build an independent judiciary.  I only wish we could have given him a proper sendoff at the close of his term this December.  But I also know that he would have been proud that he continued his service to the people of Ohio up to the very end.

Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton
Having lived in Franklin County, I have known Chief Justice Moyer from my first days in practice. I first got to know him when he was on the 10th District Court of Appeals. When he became Chief Justice, he not only brought great integrity to the bench, but he ushered in an era of forward-thinking reforms. He was one of the country’s first champions of drug courts. He was a champion of technology in the judicial system with the development of the Ohio Courts Network. He was a tireless champion of arbitration and mediation. He was nationally respected as an innovative leader who always sought to not just administer justice but to improve the administration of justice.

Justice Maureen O’Connor
When he initially came on the bench, Chief Justice Moyer restored professionalism and respect for the judiciary. Then he went on to work tirelessly to improve the judiciary and the bar. He was a public servant who could have served in any branch of government, but he was particularly well-suited to be in the judiciary because of his sense of fairness, and respect for the rule of law. You can’t say this about many people, but he was truly a gentleman. It took a keg of dynamite to rile him up. He was very slow to anger. And because of that, he was a leader.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell
This is a tremendous loss for the state of Ohio. We lose the pillar in the judiciary, the leader of our judicial system. The Chief was a mentor to so many people. He was the epitome of integrity and professionalism for every judge and lawyer in Ohio. His only care was the Court and making sure the Court operated to instill public confidence in what we do.

Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger
Good Friday, April 2, made a Thomas J. Moyer-sized hole in the universe.

The longest-serving state court Chief Justice, his passing has generated many words in tribute to him -- a successful lifetime in the legal profession,  visionary leadership on the Supreme Court of Ohio,  efforts to develop the rule of law in other countries and his  guardianship of  the integrity of  the judiciary made him a giant among judges. Unfortunately, this recognition should have been part of his retirement celebration, not his obituary. Those of us who worked with Tom Moyer knew a good man, a fine man.

The professional accolades will ring out, and they will be true.  But our Chief was admired and loved because he was someone who wore his position lightly and used it well.  Although independent judges do not always gracefully take direction, a multi-judge court needs a leader.  And he did lead.  For almost six years I was part of the Moyer Court, serving with a Chief Justice who believed in the institution of the state judicial branch with all his soul.

The building now known as the Ohio Judicial Center could not have been resurrected without Tom Moyer’s persistence and his collaboration with members of other government branches.  At its dedication in 2004, Chief Justice Rehnquist remarked that Ohio’s Supreme Court had surpassed the United States Supreme Court in beauty.  Tom Moyer respected each person who worked within the splendid walls of the Judicial Center.  The Chief could laugh and joke and make every person feel special no matter what position the person held.  He was interested in the well-being of all, and we were privileged to serve at the Supreme Court with him.

In my 25 years as a judge, he was my Chief, and I will miss him. 

Justice Robert R. Cupp
The sad and untimely passing of Chief Justice Moyer leaves an ache in each of our hearts.

Tom was an ideal leader of the Supreme Court and the Ohio judiciary: thoughtful, impartial, foresighted, and wholly dedicated to the proper administration of justice.  He was passionate about upholding the integrity and civility of the legal profession – and personally demonstrated those qualities in abundance.

There was no pretense about him.  He was genuinely friendly, interested in you, witty, and easy to talk with.  Tom was a truly nice man.  He led our court like a gentle shepherd: nudging, encouraging, coaxing, and by example.  Moreover, Chief Justice Moyer was a role model for judges across Ohio, as he was for me, and for chief justices across the nation. He leaves an enormous legacy.

We offer our sympathy to Mary and his family.  We are all deeply saddened that Tom will no longer be in our midst.  But I am also confident that he is now in the presence of the Great Author of all Justice.

Governor Ted Strickland
I am saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and Ohio’s Chief Justice, Thomas Moyer.  I was honored when Tom swore me in as governor.  That was the beginning of a warm and close working relationship – the kind of mutually respectful relationship you always envision leaders of different branches of government having.  But that was Tom: dignified, respectful, thoughtful and always concerned for the well-being of others.  It was never about him.  Tom unselfishly served the people of Ohio for so many years.  I know he was very much looking forward to his retirement, but he loved what he did.   In recent years, he was a leader and a partner in Ohio’s bipartisan efforts to fight foreclosure and to take a serious and comprehensive look at corrections reform.  He spoke passionately and convincingly for reducing the influence of money in judicial elections.

This is a sad time for Tom’s family and the people of Ohio.  Frances and I offer our deepest condolences to his wife Mary, their family, his colleagues and the many Ohioans he served during his distinguished tenure as the longest-serving chief justice in the United States.

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray
Like many Ohioans, my colleagues and I in the Attorney General's Office are mourning the passing of one of our state's most effective leaders. Chief Justice Moyer was a superb jurist whose work was marked by humility and magnanimity.

We in the Attorney General's Office feel the loss acutely. The Chief Justice spent several years practicing law in this office, and many of our lawyers appeared regularly before him in court. I argued a number of cases before him myself and experienced first-hand his warm and gentle judicial temperament and his deep fidelity to the law.

Chief Justice Moyer's public service reflected the highest aspirations of our justice system. In the past year, he worked closely with our office in providing mediation services to Ohioans facing foreclosure and defending rules ensuring judicial impartiality.

Sir Francis Bacon once said that ‘judges ought to be more learned than witty.’ Chief Justice Moyer, unusually, was both. We will greatly miss him.

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner
I am saddened by the death of my friend and former colleague Ohio’s Chief Justice, Thomas Moyer. As a former judge, I respect and understand the Chief's personal commitment to a balanced and fair judiciary. His service as our state's chief justice is remarkable as he was the longest serving chief justice in the United States. Recently, I was impressed with the chief's courageous proposal to better the selection process of judges to the Supreme Court of Ohio. Meeting with praise from the advocacy community, the election of judges would be replaced with an appointment process. In defense of his plan, Chief Justice Moyer said public-opinion surveys consistently show that 75 percent of respondents believe that campaign contributions influence judges' votes on cases.

My deepest and sincere condolences to his wife Mary, the chief's family and the staff that he led at the Ohio Supreme Court. His impact and legacy will live on in our state's judiciary.

Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish
The sudden passing of Chief Justice Thomas Moyer is a shock to all of us. He has served the people of Ohio with distinction and his legacy will be enduring. I feel privileged to have worked with him recently on his efforts to reform judicial selection in Ohio. My deepest sympathies are with his loving friends and family.

Ohio Senate President Bill Harris
There was no more honorable man in public service than the honorable Chief Justice Thomas Moyer.

Chief Justice Moyer’s profound impact on Ohio’s judicial system has been felt not only in the many decisions he has rendered over more than two decades on the Supreme Court, but also for his work to improve the institution itself. Chief Justice Moyer ushered in new technology that has made the Supreme Court more accessible to the Ohioans it serves and built an awe-inspiring working monument to the courts by virtue of the Judicial Center on Front Street.

I will remember Tom for his wisdom and his kind and humble nature that made him such a pleasure to work with.

On behalf of the Ohio Senate, we extend our deepest condolences to Mary, the entire Moyer family and all who worked with him over the years. While we mourn the passing of our friend, we can celebrate the legacy of a great Ohio leader.

House Republican Leader William G. Batchelder 
Chief Justice Thomas Moyer was a very fine public servant.  He was an excellent chief justice and his death is a loss to the people of the state of Ohio, whom he served so well.  Furthermore a loss to the system of justice upon which he made many important improvements. He will be sorely missed.

Former Justice Andrew Douglas
I would believe that if anybody would go to the dictionary and look up the word gentleman, they would see a picture of Tom Moyer because he truly was a gentle man. As we grieve for ourselves, we also grieve for his beloved Mary. He is now in a better place. May he rest in peace.

Former Justice Francis E. Sweeney Sr.
Not only was Tom a colleague on the bench, but he was that rare commodity – a truly close friend... always open to discussing opposing views with understanding and empathy.  I think the two of us really typified bipartisanship at its best.  I will greatly miss him.

Jonathan W. Marshall, Secretary, Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court of Ohio
What I remember best is the Chief’s quiet insistence that lawyers ought to do better by their clients. A gentle man who could not accept unprofessional conduct and would not tolerate lawyers who stole from and harmed their clients. And, at the end of the day, there was always his sly sense of humor.

Barbara J. Howard, President, Ohio State Bar Association
The mild-mannered patriarch of the Ohio judiciary for nearly a quarter century is gone.  Our friend and colleague, Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer, unexpectedly passed away on Friday, and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family.   He leaves an amazing legacy of which every citizen of the State of Ohio can be proud.

Thomas J. Moyer was the longest serving state Supreme Court chief justice in the nation.  In 1987, he took over as chief justice at a time when the court was torn by ideological and personal conflict. The courtly Moyer focused on civility, professionalism and insuring the fair and impartial administration of justice.  He also restored a cordial working relationship between the lawyers of Ohio and the Court that resulted in many joint efforts to improve the justice system and educate the public about the judiciary.

During his tenure, Chief Justice Moyer focused on helping Ohioans understand the role of the Supreme Court and the judicial system, having the Supreme Court hold session in locations across the state.  After overseeing the refurbishing of what is now the Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus, he insisted on creating an education center in the Court’s new home to welcome Ohio’s youth to learn more about the judicial branch.

He was committed to the Rule of Law, the concept of providing consistency, predictability, and transparency of the law.  He knew the importance of providing access to justice for all, and worked hard to open the doors of justice to every Ohioan. 

Chief Justice Moyer was respected across the nation among his fellow chief justices.  He also was well known for helping other nations in developing their legal systems.  He fostered relationships with leaders in the Ukraine and South America, hosting them in Ohio and visiting them in their homelands to assist them in developing a judiciary based on the Rule of Law. 

In recent years, Chief Justice Moyer worked to address the state’s formidable foreclosure situation.  He encouraged the establishment of mediation programs across the state to help Ohioans navigate their foreclosure problems.  He also gathered support for a measure to change the way Ohioans select Supreme Court Justices by moving to an appointive-retention election plan. 

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer.  He was an exemplary jurist, a respected member of the legal profession, and a gentleman.  We will miss his wry smile and dry wit.  We will cherish his commitment to promoting the Rule of Law and for providing access to justice for all.  We will commit ourselves to continuing to live the fine qualities that Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer personified.  

Vicky Unger, Executive Director, Ohio Jury Management Association
The members of the Ohio Jury Management Association want to express our condolences to Chief Justice Moyer’s family.  He was a supporter of our mission and his efforts to improve jury service have had a great impact on Ohio trials and the citizens who participate as jurors.  We will continue the work that has made such a difference.

Stephen D. Michael, President, Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges
Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer’s concern and intimate contact with the Courts at all levels makes his passing a grievous loss to the State’s judiciary.  The Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges has lost a guiding light and friend.

His demeanor set the tone for civility, professionalism and respect for the rule of law in the Courts of this State.  Chief Justice Moyer’s career was one of service with honor, an example for us all to emulate.

His leadership will be missed.

E. Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University
Chief Justice Tom Moyer served Ohio with unmatched distinction, compassion, and effectiveness. He devoted his career to the public good, improving our state's justice system in countless and enduring ways, and sharing his deep knowledge of the rule of law to help emerging democracies around the world. Admired by allies and adversaries alike, Tom Moyer will be counted as one of our truly great elected leaders. Ohio State and the State of Ohio have lost one of their finest.

Medina County Probate/Juvenile Judge John J. Lohn
The Chief was steady, forthright and uncommonly kind. We judges have lost a great champion and a role model. There are many of us praying for the repose of his soul and for the peace and consolation of his wife and family.

Logan County Family Court Judge C. Douglas Chamberlain
In the entire 24 years I have been acquainted with him, he always made me feel that the camaraderie of the Bar and the Judiciary were an essential element of fulfilling the higher calling he believed our profession has in service to our fellow citizens. He made us proud to be Lawyers and Judges.

Supreme Court of Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr.
The Supreme Court of Kentucky extends condolences to the Justices of the Supreme Court of Ohio and to the judges and employees associated with the Ohio Judicial System upon the passing of Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer. The positive influence of Chief Justice Moyer’s unparalleled leadership extended beyond the borders of the State of Ohio. He played a vital role in the delivery of justice to the citizens of Ohio, and his innovative leadership was an example for state courts across the country. His leadership will be missed.

I had come to know Chief Justice Moyer personally after joining the Conference of Chief Justices in 2008. His fellow Chief Justices held him in high esteem.

Chief Justice Christine Durham of Utah, president of the Conference of Chief Justices
Chief Justice Tom Moyer was respected and admired not just in his home state of Ohio but also throughout the nation as a leader in the improvement of the administration of justice in the state courts. His colleagues in the Conference of Chief Justices will deeply miss his wisdom, kindness, and example.

Mary Campbell McQueen, National Center for State Courts president
For those of us at the National Center, Chief Justice Moyer was much more than a leader, he was a friend. Chief Justice Moyer was dedicated to improving the justice system and always willing to share his time, energy and innovations with courts in all states. His work with the NCSC went beyond what was required. We will always miss his intellect, his skill, and his commitment.

Bert Brandenburg, Executive Director, Justice at Stake
Ohio Chief Justice Moyer, a founding member of Justice at Stake’s board of directors, died today. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends. At the time of his death, he was the longest serving chief justice in the United States. He cared deeply about the courts, he was a truly gentle man, and we will miss him very much.

The (Canton) Repository
Moyer convened the Ohio Supreme Court in dozens of communities over the years so that high school students in particular could see how it operated. He allowed cameras in his court. He advocated connecting the state’s courts through an Internet database, and his own court’s opinions have been posted as soon as they are issued.

Moyer, who was soft-spoken but firm in his convictions, would have retired at the end of this year. He made the most of his time on the Ohio Supreme Court, and what a long, productive time it was.

The Columbus Dispatch
In a time when partisanship runs white-hot and politics seems increasing bare-knuckled, Ohio Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer stood out as soft-spoken, conciliatory, humble, decent and gentlemanly. As a person, as a jurist and as a public servant, he leaves a high bar for all who follow him.

Dayton Daily News
Chief Justice Moyer’s contributions are many, but the most enduring is his example. Future chiefs and justices can’t ever say they don’t have a role model.