Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, who was in the sunset of his long career on Ohio’s Supreme Court, died unexpectedly of natural causes today.?

While he was a Republican jurist whose jurisprudence I disagreed with occasionally, he was someone I respected greatly as a person dedicated to improve the justice system and guarded of its reputation.? Moyer was the longest chief justice of any state’s Supreme Court in the nation.

Governor Ted Strickland has ordered all state flags to be flown at half mast and issued this statement:

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.

Moyer was a strong advocate to end the election of Ohio Supreme Court justices.? He worked with Governor Strickland in forming the Governor’s bipartisan screening process for the appointment of judges to fill vacant terms.

ODP Chairman Chris Redfern has issued this statement:

?I would like to express my condolences to the family of Chief Justice Thomas Moyer. Despite political differences, he was my Catawba Island neighbor, a man of honor, and a man who cared deeply about Ohio and our judicial system.?

Jill at Writes Like She Talks notes that this is a week after the person Moyer defeated in 1986, former Chief Justice Frank D. Celebrezze died as well.

The Ohio Supreme Court’s website simply notes the following:

The Chief Justice had been experiencing health problems, but they were not thought to be life threatening. He was admitted to Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus late Thursday morning, and he was pronounced dead at approximately 4 p.m. Friday.

Joe Hallett of the Columbus Dispatch has an interesting article about the life of Chief Justice Moyer.

Governor Strickland will need to appoint a new Chief Justice to fill the remaining nine-months of Moyer’s term under Article IV, Sec. 13 of the Ohio Constitution.

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