Justice Yvette McGee Brown arrived at the Ohio Supreme Court two years ago. Ted Strickland tapped her to fill the vacancy created when Maureen O’Connor won election to the position of chief justice. Now Brown is seeking election to fill the remainder of the term. She has been an outstanding addition to the court, winning praise from the chief justice and other colleagues for the quality of her work and her temperament.
We recommend the election of Yvette McGee Brown on Nov. 6.
Brown made history in joining the high court, becoming the first female African-American justice. She brings welcome diversity in another way. She is the lone Democrat. Her presence leaves the court much less vulnerable to charges of following a Republican agenda, the result enhancing public confidence. In addition, she can point to rich and varied experience, 27 years as a practicing attorney, nine as a domestic relations and juvenile judge in Franklin County, plus managing a business, founding the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. No other justice has such a business perspective.
While a member of the court, Brown has chaired a state task seeking to improve education opportunities for foster children.
Her opponent, Judge Sharon Kennedy of the Butler County Domestic Relations Court, suggests that Brown wants to move the law “forward.” She cites Brown saying so in a YouTube video and darkly hints about judicial activism. Yet Brown also talks about restraint. Worth emphasis is her record — joining the majority in all but a handful of cases, and in each dissent joined by a Republican. Read a selection of Brown’s opinions, and you find a justice taking care to apply the law in the just and sensible way the public should expect.
Kennedy can boast about her own unique experience, at least for the court. In the 1980s, she worked as a police officer for Hamilton County. She explains that she has seen in real situations the playing out of constitutional issues involving such matters as search and seizure and the rights of the accused. Kennedy also spent part of her career representing defendants in criminal cases.
Whatever her strengths, Kennedy struggles to make a case for removing Brown, her suggestion mere slogan about a justice who has made the court stronger.