Ohio chief justice dies at 70

Chris Rizo Apr. 4, 2010, 12:01am

Thomas Moyer (R)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)- Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, the longest-serving sitting state Supreme Court chief justice in the United States, died unexpectedly Friday. He was 70, and preparing for retirement.

He was admitted to a hospital Thursday, after experiencing gastrointestinal problems, and died Friday afternoon.

Moyer, a Republican who became Ohio chief justice Jan. 1, 1987, had planned to retire after finishing his current term at the end of the year.

Born in Sandusky on April 18, 1939, Moyer graduated from Sandusky High School and went on earn his undergraduate and law degrees from Ohio State University.

Gov. Ted Strickland, whom Moyer had sworn into office, issued a statement on the justice's passing, saying he was saddened by the jurist's passing.

"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," Strickland said. "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."

The governor has ordered flags lowered to half-staff at all public buildings beginning Monday until Moyer's burial.

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