8-10-2009

Contact: Amy Murray, (614) 292-8385

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice will address summer graduates

Thomas Moyer noted for distinguished public service career

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer has been selected to speak at Ohio State's summer quarter commencement. About 1,900 students will receive degrees during the ceremony, which takes place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 30, at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

A native of Sandusky, Moyer earned his B.A. and J.D. degrees from The Ohio State University in 1961 and 1964, respectively. First elected in 1986, Chief Justice Moyer is serving his fourth term on the Supreme Court. His current term expires Dec. 31, 2010.

Chief Justice Moyer is a leader in providing citizens with improved access to the courts through alternative dispute resolution and computer technology. He also is seeking to ensure equal access to the courts through the development of a certification process for interpreters for non-English speakers and the hearing-impaired.

Since becoming Chief Justice in 1987, Ohio has been a leader in providing substance abuse treatment to nonviolent offenders. He also is working with leaders of the judiciary and the General Assembly to develop family courts, a comprehensive approach to resolving criminal and civil issues confronting families. As chairman of the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, Chief Justice Moyer led efforts to revise Ohio felony, misdemeanor, traffic and juvenile sentencing laws that have been adopted by the General Assembly.

Chief Justice Moyer helped initiate a national program to train judges in the legal application of matters related to the life sciences, bio-medicine, nano-technology and computer forensics. The effort has developed educational programs in collaboration with the Ohio State Medical Center, the university's College of Engineering, and College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. To date, more than 250 judges from 39 states have completed the requisite training to be certified to hear cases related to advanced scientific legal challenges.

He also is in the forefront of efforts to improve the method of selecting judges in Ohio and has worked with all interested parties to develop legislative proposals to increase the reporting requirements for contributions made to judicial campaigns, and increase the minimum professional qualifications required of judicial candidates.

Moyer also works with lawyers and judges in other countries as they develop independent judiciaries. After Ukraine gained its independence, he led efforts to introduce that country to the importance of the rule of law and continues to host delegations from Ukraine on a regular basis. He also has worked with judicial leaders in China, Korea, Argentina and Chile.

After earning his law degree, Moyer served eight years as a judge of the Tenth District Court of Appeals in Franklin County, four years as executive assistant to the governor of Ohio and eight years in the private practice of law in Columbus.

He serves as vice-chair of the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center, a national consortium to prepare judges for managing the resolution of disputes that present complex science issues. He also chairs the Task Force on Politics and Judicial Selection for the Conference of Chief Justices and co-chairs the CCJ Committee on Emergency Preparedness in the Courts.

His numerous awards include recognition as one of 40 outstanding alumni in 1987, at Ohio State's 300th commencement. He also served as chair of the Ohio State University Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1997-99.

Also during the August 30 ceremony, George A. Olah, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at University of Southern California and winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will receive the honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Distinguished Service Awards will be given to John M. Shepherd, a two-time alumnus and chief executive officer of The Shepherd Chemical Company; and Christine Warner Powell and her late husband, John L. Warner, whose generous gift provided the new John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center at Ohio State's Newark campus.