SEBRING, Ohio - As on January 1st, the newest appointed member of the Supreme Court of Ohio is a Mahoning Valley native. Justice Judith French has her family roots in Sebring.
Justice French has many fond memories of growing up in Sebring, the small town atmosphere and her close knit family.
"So it was that kind of upbringing where you were surrounded by family and friends all the time. Sunday dinner at my grammas' house, that kind of upbringing," French said.
In high school, young Judy French showed early signs of leadership qualities, serving as class president and editor of the school newspaper.
The future justice thought journalism might be her career path, but that changed after enrolling at Ohio State University.
"My interest in government and law and politics combined a little more easily with a career in law," French said.
A career highlight was successfully representing Ohio and the State Attorney General before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of the Cleveland School voucher program. It's considered a landmark case regarding education and separation of church and state.
Justice French said, "I'm very grateful for having had that opportunity to be involved in something that was so important to so many families."
Justice French also feels proud and privileged over her appointment to Ohio's Constitutional Modernization Commission.
"That is the commission that over a 10 year period, in a very methodical way, will take a look at the entire state constitution and decide whether certain provisions might need to be revised or become more modern and then make recommendations to the general assembly," French said.
Justice French's appointment runs until 2014 when she will seek election to a full term on Ohio's highest court.
There is no doubt that the French family of Sebring is very proud of the accomplishments of their "Judge Judy."