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Sandra Day O’Connor speaks at Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spoke to members and guests of the Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer Legacy Foundation about civic discourse through education at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center on March 19.

Justice O’Connor spoke about her friend, Tom Moyer, and the passion of civic education that they both shared.

“He worked to try to educate the citizens here about the role of government and the place of courts in the system,” Justice O’Connor said. “I think Tom would have been very happy to find the Legacy Fund established in his name. He has been dedicated to promoting public understanding of the law with programs that advance civic education and civility, integrity, and the rule of law.”

Justice O’Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan. She was the first woman to serve on the country’s highest court. Justice O’Connor retired from the bench in 2006 and soon after launched iCivics, an online civics education program for middle school students.

Justice O’Connor stressed the importance of civic education to the nearly 300 attendees.

 “The truth is that without an effort made by us in this area, I don’t think students are going to learn what they need to know about how government works. Civic learning is no longer a staple of every state’s education system,” Justice O’Connor said “Too many school are pushing civics aside.”

Justice O’Connor also spoke with around 230 high school and law students before her keynote speech.

A panel discussion followed Justice O’Connor’s address. The panel members included Lori Urogdy Eiler, a teacher at Shaw High School in Cleveland; Richard Ross, superintendent of public instruction; Carl Smallwood, attorney at Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease; and moderator Edward B. “Ned” Foley, law professor at The Ohio State University. The group spoke about the need for Ohio schools to be more engaged with civics and democracy and to start teaching them about the three branches of government as early as kindergarten. The panel also agreed that students receive less civics education in part due to Ohio testing standards requirements.

The Moyer Legacy Fund is a partnership among the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Foundation and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Content courtesy of Court News Ohio.

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