Speeches

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor
Justice Melody J. Stewart Investiture Ceremony
Jan. 31, 2019

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the investiture ceremony of Justice Melody J. Stewart.

This is a historic occasion – for our Court and for our state.

By virtue of her approval by Ohio voters last fall, Justice Melody J. Stewart has become the first African American woman to be elected to the Supreme Court of Ohio and has forever earned a place in not only this Court’s history, but the history of the State of Ohio.

I’m sure that for many of you – our honored guests,  who travelled so far in such cold weather — this is your first visit to our beautiful Courthouse and Courtroom.

Look about you and you will see milestones of our state’s journey, from its founding in Marietta, that are depicted on the walls.

It is more than fitting that this investiture take place with these walls as witness to today’s milestone – a step upward in our heritage as the 17th state.

Justice Stewart, the Court has enjoyed your presence this past month on the bench and in our conferences as Ohio’s 161st justice.

We welcome you again today, and we welcome your family and friends, to this momentous occasion.

We have elected officials here from across the state. Would all of you please stand to be recognized whether you’re in the courtroom or one of the overflow rooms.

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce the Reverend Robert Marva, pastor of Saint Agnes-Our Lady of Fatima Church in Cleveland.

Please rise as Father Marva delivers today’s invocation.

I would now like to invite Justice Stewart’s family to approach the bench for the administration of the oath of office.

I, Melody J. Stewart do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Ohio, will administer justice without respect to persons, and will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio according to the best of my ability and understanding.

(This I do as I shall answer unto God.)

Thank you, Justice Stewart.

Please join me in welcoming to the bench the 161st Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio, Justice Melody Stewart.

Thanks to all of you for taking part in this historic event.

The legendary Ohio-born poet Toni Morrison once wrote:

“As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.”

Justice Stewart, it has been a pleasure to share in your dream today – and we know from your one month on the bench that you are a great thinker as well.

Marshall, please adjourn the Court.