May 3, 2017
Justice Kennedy Meets with Leadership Medina

Image of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy addressing a roomful of people

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy (pictured center) speaks to Leadership Medina members during the group’s visit to Ohio’s capitol on May 3, 2017, for their annual state government session.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy spoke to more than 50 members of Medina County’s Adult and Youth Leadership program during the group’s visit to the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center on May 3, 2017, as part of their annual government day session.

Kennedy discussed Ohio’s three branches of government and the judiciary’s role within that structure. Leadership, she said, includes exercising one’s voice within the representative system of government the founding fathers created.

Kennedy also directed comments to the youth in attendance, sharing advice given to her as a child by her parents.

“They always told me I could achieve anything I wanted if I would only do these three things: Decide and commit, work hard, and have fortitude. That is how I came to be where I am today,” Kennedy told them.

She likened her own unusual career path to the Robert Frost poem: “The Road Not Taken,” telling the story of how, as a teenager, her dream was to be a cop. Yet after a number of years serving on Hamilton, Ohio’s police force, her life took a turn when she decided to follow her high school mentor’s advice and go to law school.

“Like me, you will stand at that fork in the road, peering down both paths, and you can’t see what’s around the corner. Whichever one you choose will leave the other one behind forever. That’s the road not taken,” Kennedy said.

The path Kennedy ended up choosing would eventually wind its way to the Ohio Supreme Court, but not without many twists and rocky roads along the way.

“At every turn there were those who told me I couldn’t make it. And there will be naysayers in your life too,” Kennedy said. “When someone tells you it’s not possible, that you can’t do it, it’s white noise. Obstacles are only opportunities to rise.”

Justice Kennedy is serving her second term on the Supreme Court of Ohio. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, she served on the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division from 1999 to 2012. She served as the administrative judge there from 2005 until December 2012. Justice Kennedy began her career in the justice system as a police officer in Hamilton, Ohio. She received her law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.