The second longest-serving sitting state Supreme Court chief justice in the United States, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer died at age of 70 on Friday.

Moyer had been admitted in a Columbus hospital on Thursday morning when he had gastrointestinal problems but it could not be resolved and he died on Friday afternoon. Moyer was suffering from several health problems from past few years.

Moyer became the chief justice on Jan. 1, 1987. He had made plans for retirement after finishing his present term at the end of 2010.

Justice Paul Pfeifer who was once his classmate at the Ohio State University law school said, “It’s just a huge tragedy for all of us and a great loss for his family and for the citizens of Ohio. He was the quintessential image, and not just image but the reality of dignity of the office of chief justice, and of the role of the courts in our society.”

Moyer’s made huge efforts to change the system to select the judges in Ohio. He had always been pushing for the constitutional amendment that requires the appointment of the state Supreme Court justices instead of selecting through election as he thought that having judges hunt for large campaign donations contaminated the legal system.

Moyer also worked well to adopt the strategy of out-of-court conflict resolution and to bring the interpreters in the courts for non-English speakers and the hearing impaired. He supported other courts across world including China, Argentina and Ukraine.

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