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Published: Tuesday, 4/6/2010

Ohioans can pay respects to late chief justice on Friday

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer gestures during a news conference at the Rhodes Tower in Columbus, Ohio in this 2000 file photo. Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer gestures during a news conference at the Rhodes Tower in Columbus, Ohio in this 2000 file photo.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The late Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer will lie in state Friday in front of the Ohio Supreme Court bench in the court's stand-alone home that he'd personally championed.

Members of his family will receive Ohioans paying their respects between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the Ohio Judicial Center at 65 S. Front St. in downtown Columbus.

Chief Justice Moyer, 70, died last Friday after more than 23 years on the high court, eight years on the 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus, and as a top aide to Gov. James Rhodes in the 1970s.

He'd worked as usual last Tuesday and Wednesday despite being in obvious ill health from gastrointestinal problems. He entered Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus on Thursday.

At just under four full six-year terms, the Sandusky native was the longest-serving current chief justice in the nation but was in his final year because he'd reached mandatory retirement age.

The public funeral service for "The Chief" will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at First Community Church at 1320 Cambridge Blvd. in the Columbus suburb of Marble Cliff where he and his family worshipped. That will be followed by a private burial.

Condolences may be sent by writing Chief Justice Moyer's Chambers at 65 S. Front St., Columbus, OH 43215-3431 or by e-mailing condolences@sc.ohio.gov.

A memorial tribute will coincide with Law Day on May 1. Details for honoring him have not been announced.

Gov. Ted Strickland, who will ultimately appoint the chief justice's successor, has suggested renaming the white, 15-story Ohio Judicial Center overlooking the Scioto River in the chief justice's honor. Chief Justice Moyer had overseen the $85 million, taxpayer-financed renovation and restoration of the former Ohio Departments Building into the court's first stand-alone home.

The naming decision, however, would be made by his fellow justices, since the deed to the building was turned over to the court upon its completion.

Until the governor's fills the vacancy on the court, Justice Paul Pfeifer, the most senior member of the bench, is serving as acting chief justice. While the court remains at a count of six, there is the possibility of a 3-3 tie. If that should occur, the case would have to be reconsidered when the court returns to its full complement.

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