8/17/12 ASHLAND, Ohio - Maureen O'Connor, Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, will present the Constitution Day Lecture on Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ashbrook Center, located on the top floor of the Library on the Ashland University campus. This event is free of charge. For more information, contact Lisa Ormiston at (419) 289-5429 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Justice O’Connor is the 10th Chief Justice in Ohio history and is the first woman to lead the Ohio judicial branch. She first joined the Supreme Court of Ohio as an associate justice in January 2003. She was re-elected in November 2008 and then as Chief Justice in 2010.
Born in the nation’s capital, but raised in Strongsville and Parma, O’Connor’s career in public service and the law spans three decades and includes service as a private lawyer, magistrate, common pleas court judge, prosecutor and Supreme Court Justice.
She earned her bachelor of arts at Seton Hill College in 1973 before going on to earn her law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1980.
While gaining experience in practice as an attorney during the early 1980s, O’Connor created a home for her family and her legal career in Northeast Ohio. Appointed a magistrate in Summit County in 1985, she served in that capacity until becoming a common pleas court judge in 1993.
As a busy trial judge, Connor was selected by her peers to serve as the administrative judge — a testament to her ability to build coalitions and maintain collegiality while administering to the business of the courts.
She resigned from the bench to become the Summit County prosecuting attorney in 1995. She was recognized for her work on behalf of crime victims, and received awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Cleveland State University. As prosecutor, O’Connor also lobbied the General Assembly on important criminal justice reforms.
In 1998, she was elected lieutenant governor — the second-highest official in the state. She became the governor’s chief adviser on criminal justice issues, serving as director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and as chair of Ohio’s Security Task Force and the State Building Security Review Committee.
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, she led the state in its response to new threats of terrorism working with law enforcement, Ohio EMA and The Department of Homeland Security.
O’Connor won election as chief with more than 67 percent of the popular vote, nearly the same percentage earned in her 2008 re-election victory. Her first statewide judicial election in 2002, in which she took more than 57 percent of the vote, made her the 148th Justice to the Court, the sixth woman to join the Court and gave the Court its first-ever female majority.
The Ashbrook Center is an independent center at Ashland University that restores and strengthens the capacities of the American people for constitutional self-government. The Center teaches students and teachers across our country what America is and what America represents in the long history of the world. Ashbrook creates informed patriots.
Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.