USA TODAY bestows its highest honor upon former Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a distinguished jurist who has made an indelible impact on the legal landscape of the nation.
O’Connor served as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio from 2003 to 2018, during which time she championed the cause of justice, fairness, and inclusivity. She was the first woman to serve as Chief Justice in Ohio, and her tenure marked a period of sweeping reform and modernization of the state’s legal system.
Throughout her career, O’Connor has demonstrated a firm commitment to the rule of law and the rights of the accused. She has consistently sought to ensure that the criminal justice system works for all Ohioans and to promote public safety.
In addition to her groundbreaking tenure as Chief Justice, O’Connor has been lauded for her advocacy of civil rights. Her decisions in cases involving minority rights and civil liberties have been groundbreaking, and she has been a strong voice in the fight against racial inequity and discrimination.
O’Connor has also been an ardent proponent of judicial independence. She has been an outspoken critic of partisan influence in the judiciary and has argued for greater transparency and accountability in the court system.
In recognition of her outstanding service to the legal profession and the people of Ohio, USA TODAY honors Maureen O’Connor with its highest honor. Her advocacy for justice, fairness, and equality has been an inspiration to us all.