In 1958, Judge Robert L. McBride circulated a report entitled Judicial Organization and the Bar. This report pointed out the need for a state-wide judicial organization consisting of all Ohio judges. Three reasons for a "judicial conference" were set forth:
The then existing judges' organizations were organized along jurisdictional lines,
The judiciary was "submerged" by the organized voice of the bar, and
There was no single agency in which all judges could participate to improve the administration of justice.
The report suggested that all judges could combine efforts to improve the judiciary from within the judicial branch and by recommending legislative change where needed. Ohio judges met in 1959 and unanimously passed a resolution to organize a Judicial Conference having an Executive Committee consisting of the Chief Justice and two judges from each of the different subject matter jurisdictions. The following year, a second meeting was held and the judges adopted a constitution.
In May 1963, the General Assembly enacted R.C. 105.91 creating the Ohio Judicial Conference as a statutory entity, separate from the Supreme Court of Ohio, within the judicial branch of government, essentially as it is today. The Judicial Conference consists of all Ohio judges and representatives of the six judicial associations. In October 1994, the General Assembly passed a statute (R.C. 105.911) enabling the Ohio Judicial Conference to research and prepare judicial impact statements on legislation that affects the administration of justice in Ohio.
Chief Justice Kingsley A. Taft, Supreme Court of Ohio, in an address delivered to Ohio judges on May 16, 1963, set forth the challenge for Ohio judges:
I feel certain that, if all of us who are judges will take an affirmative interest and pride in having a Judicial Conference, no matter how slight that affirmative interest and pride may be, those judges who are willing and anxious to devote their time and effort to the activities of a Judicial Conference will be encouraged to do so and the resulting product of their time and effort will not only bring honor and help to all of us as Ohio Judges but will substantially improve the administration of justice in Ohio.
Since 1963 Ohio judges have accepted the challenge and have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to working with other Ohio judges to make improvements in our courts and the administration of justice. More than 200 judges work on Judicial Conference Committees. The Judicial Conference needs every Ohio judge to be involved.