Turley Speaks at 2023 Ohio Judicial Conference

Today I have the honor of speaking to the judges and lawyers in the 2023 Ohio Judicial conference on the Supreme Court in Columbus, Ohio.  I will be discussing the last year of cases and controversies for the Court, incluiding recent and upcoming decisions. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said that “it’s hard not to have a big year at the Supreme Court.” However, this is shaping up as another huge year for the Court.

The Court is coming off one of the most historic and impactful terms in its history. Yet, the coming docket has cases that could bring major rulings related to gun rights, free speech, the Chevron Doctrine, and even the constitutional viability of the wealth tax.

The prior cases also undermine the common narrative that the Court is hopelessly divided along ideological lines. The number of unanimous cases still account for just under half of the cases.  Even the 6-3 decisions often showed a mix of aligned justices where conservatives and liberals were found on both sides.

In Federalist 78, Alexander Hamilton wrote:

“…the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. .. The judiciary…has no influence over either the sword or the purse…neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment…”

History has not exactly born out Hamilton’s prediction of the “least . . . capacity to annoy.” The Court remains at the center of our political divisions and rage. Yet, the public continues to support the Court as an institution and the vast majority overwhelmingly rejects calls from politicians like Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and many professors to pack the Court.

Polling shows 91% of Americans believe an independent judiciary is a crucial safeguard of our civil liberties and 72% of Americans believe that the politicization of the Supreme Court threatens judicial independence. Notably, 59% oppose attacks on the integrity of some of the justices that have become commonplace in the media and among liberal commentators.

However, despite the disagreement that many have with some recent decisions, it remains an institution with a higher popularity than Congress or other institutions.  As members of Congress insist that the public has lost trust in the Court, they ignore that it retains the trust of 43% the public while Congress is at 18%. That is still not where it should be, but it is remarkable given the thousands of stories hitting the Court, its members, and its alleged partisan agendas.


23 thoughts on “Turley Speaks at 2023 Ohio Judicial Conference”

  1. I’ve driven from just east of Cleveland (home) down to Columbus twice in order to file Affidavits of Disqualification with the Ohio Supreme Court, and each timr was treated very respectfully while there. Not being a lawyer, I found that especially impressive of the Court.

    Once, after the Ohio 11th District Court of Appeals had ruled on one of my pro se cases, the presiding Judge of the appellate court forwarded a complaint on my behalf (but on its own initiative) to the Ohio Supreme Court concerning the lower court judge that had presided over the case that the appellate court has just reviewed, and I was invited to drive down to Columbus to testify concerning the matter, but I declined the invitation, since the Ohio Supreme Court had already reviewed the video recording of the trial, so anything I might have added would have been superfluous. Aside from that, I felt that the Appellate Judge had stated the issues better than I could when his entire court ruled in my favor, reversing a bogus ruling in the lower court and stating, “This court will not indulge a reincarnation of Judge Roy Bean and his Law West of the Pecos style of adjudication east of the Cuyahoga” (the Cuyahoga is a river that runs through Cleveland).

    I figured that nothing I could say or do could possibly top THAT. God bless you, Judge Ford. Some days justice not only works but has a cherry put on top. The complained of judge was a judge no more.

  2. Credit to JT for leaving the DC bubble and visiting America, even it is Ohio. (A pleasant peninsula can be found further north.)

    1. A pleasant peninsula can be found further north.

      I like to ask a U.S. geography trivia question: what US state consists of two peninsulas? I assume that’s you, but perhaps you were referring to the Ontario Peninsula?

      1. Actually there are many peninsulae in the great lakes region. The term “pleasant peninsula” (singular) is in Michigan’s motto.

        1. Interesting. I was at first thinking the motto ignored the UP, but when I looked it up (“if you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you”), I can see that it didn’t even though the word peninsula, as you note, is singular.

          BTW, several of my college friends, including two roommates, were from the Detroit area. I learned from them about the term UP and about the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry – and have annually rooted for the Wolverines in that game ever since.

      2. For your geographic trivia arsenal, there’s a sleepy little town named Peninsula a couple of hours north of where Turley was talking. While there, one might think they were in a quaint little New England villiage.

  3. Is it really true that Congress has an 18% ‘approval’ rating —- 82% of those polled (whoever they were) answered questions leading to a disapproval rating?

    I’m speculating here but right after Sept. 11, 2001, when this country went after the perpetrators of the attacks on the World trade center and Pentagon — the approval rating of Congress had to have been about as high as it had been since the Watergate Era, Cuban missile crisis in 1962, and Dec. 8, 1941 after Pearl Harbor —

    18%? Believable but pathetic — and our President and his VP are in the dumper as well, approval-wise.

    So the Supremes get the aware for the highest overall approval rating, and that’s as it should be.

    1. Is it really true that Congress has an 18% ‘approval’ rating —- 82% of those polled (whoever they were) answered questions leading to a disapproval rating?

      That’s why longevity of office is so rare?

  4. Good for you professor!
    Glad to see you are sought after as a expert in Constitutional law.
    If you get the chance, try Lindy’s restaurant in the German Village.

  5. The Court never was at the center of our political divisions until in the 1960s and 1970s it became political itself. The idea of a march on the Supreme Court would have been entirely foreign to the Founding Fathers.

    1. Old, what you say is true. In general, few concerned themselves with the courts. Why the change? Could the reason be the left can’t get what it wants through legislation, so they try to get it through the courts? They have had success, and now that the court’s more conservative, they wish to pack the court.

  6. May your speech go well and be free from the mob violence disrupting so many right-leaning speakers, or perhaps better, speakers who are not ultra-liberal.

  7. The Court remains at the center of our political divisions and rage.

    The court is the focus ONLY because Congress refuses to overrule SCOTUS. Congress can enact legislation that is within their Constitutional power. Note, Abortion was not outlawed by SCOTUS, just returned to the States, as the Constitution demands.

  8. it is clear that people like Obama, Kerry, and numerous behind the scenes Democrat actors…really HATE the US.
    Liberal of the 1960’s wanted to stop war…today Democrats WANT war…to SKIM MONEY!

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