Today I went over to the Ohio Supreme Court to listen to an oral argument. While there, I had the chance to enjoy the Supreme Court courtroom and many other splendid features of the Ohio Judicial Center, which was called the Ohio Departments Building when it first opened in 1933.
The building is a graceful structure that is chock full of beautiful features and distinctive touches, and the Supreme Court courtroom is one of the highlights. It is a magnificent venue for an oral argument before Ohio’s highest court, with walls and ceilings covered with historical murals and classical scenes, rich carpeting and wall hangings, and fine furnishings. When I was there this morning a high school class was there to watch the argument, and while I thought the students might have been bored by the subject matter — which involved the standards for certifying a case as a class action under Ohio law — they could easily occupy their time gaping at the room. It definitely conveys the majesty of the law.
There’s a marked contrast between the current courtroom and its immediate predecessor, which was located a few blocks away in the Rhodes Tower. The Rhodes Tower is a prime example of soulless modern architecture, and the Supreme Court courtroom was a cold, drab, unadorned room that was filled with stone and sharp angles. The old courtroom always made me feel as if the Politburo was ready to walk out, give a perfunctory wave to the proletariat, and then pronounce judgment on the latest five-year plan. The “new” courtroom — which of course is older than the “old” courtroom — is a vast improvement.
On my visit today I took some photos of the refurbished building and its trappings. Above is a picture of the Supreme Court bench and counsel tables, and below is some of the terrific artwork found on the ceiling of the courtroom. I’ll post some more pictures of the building over the next few days.