Local politician welcomes Ohio chief justice to bench

COLUMBUS — A local political leader on Wednesday afternoon helped welcome the Honorable Sharon L. Kennedy to the Supreme Court of Ohio.

David W. Johnson, Columbiana County Republican Party chairman and CEO of Summitville Tiles in Summitville, served as emcee of the formal investiture ceremony for Kennedy, the 11th chief justice to lead the state judicial branch. The Honorable Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, retired justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio, administered the oath of office at the Thomas J. Moyer Judicial Center in Columbus.

Before family, friends and dignitaries, the new leader of the Ohio judiciary pledged to “serve each and every Ohioan with a full heart and a steady compass.” Kennedy’s niece, Alyse Pasternak, held the bible.

Kennedy was elected to the court as an associate justice in 2012, and twice re-elected in 2014 and 2020. She was elected as chief justice in 2022.

Kennedy is Ohio born and raised and began her career in the justice system as a police officer at the Hamilton (Butler County) Police Department. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, she entered private practice, serving the needs of families and the less fortunate. As a judicial officer, she was first a magistrate in the Butler County area courts, presiding over civil actions. She was elected to the Butler County Court of Common Pleas and served as administrative judge of the Domestic Relations Division for eight years. She has spent nearly four decades serving the needs of families, juveniles and veterans.

Kennedy donned the robe of her mentor, Judge Matthew J. Crehan of Butler County, who died earlier this week. She had clerked for him when he was a practicing attorney, and he was the first to tell her she could make it all the way to the Supreme Court.


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