Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

Judith L. French '88 Elected to Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals

Judith FrenchGovernor Taft appointed Judith French '88 to replace Judge Michael Watson on the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals at the end of September 2004 when he became a U.S. District judge for the Southern District of Ohio. She immediately began her election campaign. In a Columbus Bar Association preference poll, she was preferred by 72% of those responding.

In announcing her appointment, Governor Taft said, "Judi is an extraordinary public servant, and her valuable legal advice has been a tremendous asset to my administration. I am confident that she will continue to apply her vital insight, dedication, commitment and enthusiasm to her new position."

Prior to joining the governor's staff, Judi was chief counsel to former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery. As the Chief of the Attorney General's Chief Counsel's staff, Judi advised statewide elected office holders, and handled many of the constitutional questions that arose in the office.

Judi argued two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court: Whitman v. American Trucking Association, in which the court considered EPA's adoption of a revised National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone, and Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the landmark case that upheld the constitutionality of a school voucher system run in the City of Cleveland, Ohio. Counsel in these cases have included two U.S. Solicitors General, Seth P. Waxman and Theodore Olson, and Squire Sanders & Dempsey attorney David Young '55.

The French Family
(clockwise from top) Judi, Ed, Joseph and Julia

Judi has also served as deputy director for legal affairs at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and as corporate counsel for Steelcase Inc. in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is a former associate at the law firm of Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur.

Judi earned a bachelor's degree in political science and master's degree in military history and strategic studies from The Ohio State University. She also earned her law degree from Moritz. Professor Emeritus Larry Herman remembers Judi as a standout in moot court.

"As a four-year, dual-degree student, Judi was able to participate in two National Moot Court competitions," Professor Herman says. "She was the only one of my students who did. The hallmark of her argument, whether written or oral, was honesty. She confronted every weakness in her clients' cases and found a way to deal with it. Consequently, I expected her to excel when she appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States, and she did."

Judge French will begin her term on January 1, 2005. She resides in Grandview Heights with her husband, Ed Skeens, and children, Julia and Joseph.