On March 1, 2008 Justice Stratton was very honored to deliver the Statehood
Day Address at the 42nd Annual Statehood Day Prayer Breakfast. The event
commemorates Ohio's admission to statehood in 1803 and is co-sponsored by the Ross County Ministerial Association and the Chillicothe Kiwanis Club. We don't often appreciate how important Chillicothe is to Ohio's history.
The seeds of our secular government were sown in Chillicothe, Ohio. The Ohio Constitution was drafted in Chillicothe in 1802 and the Ross County seat served as Ohio's state capital from 1803-1810 and from 1812 to 1816. Chillicothe also served for a while as the capital of the Northwest Territories.
In her statehood day remarks, Justice Stratton reminded those in attendance that Ohio citizens can be proud not only of their strong religious faith, but also of their high standards of religious freedom. Justice Stratton told the gathering of Ross County religious and political leaders that her upbringing in Bangkok, Thailand, as a child of missionary parents, and her experiences while attending boarding schools in South Vietnam and Malaysia, have provided her with a unique viewpoint on the importance of political and religious freedoms. "My job as a justice is to look at the Constitution," Stratton said. "And in Ohio thankfully, we don't have to be afraid to talk about religion - as we were in the countries in which I grew up."
While living under other the rule of foreign governments, Justice Stratton said she learned to strike a balance between strong government and personal freedoms. "We respect our government and the rules, that for the most part, we don't have to send a police force out to enforce every rule upon every person," she said.
As an Ohio Supreme Court Justice, Stratton hopes to continue bringing that perspective to the court. With the help of her supporters and contributors, the state of Ohio will continue to allow her to serve in this important role.