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Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Reflections from the Bench: Episode 3, Former Justice Yvette McGee Brown

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Joining me now is former Ohio Supreme Court justice Yvette McGee Brown. How are you today?

Justice McGee Brown: I'm good. Thank you.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Justice, you left the court in December of 2012?

Justice McGee Brown: Yes.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: OK. What are you doing these days?

Justice McGee Brown: I'm practicing law as a regular lawyer at Jones Day where I have practiced appellate and litigation law. But I also serve as the firm's global partner in charge of diversity inclusion and advancement. So it's a nice combination of quite a global firm. It is quite a global firm with 43 offices around the world.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: You ever miss being on the court?

Justice McGee Brown: I do miss it all the time.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Why?

Justice McGee Brown: It's one of those places where unlike any practice, particularly being a trial court judge, where you get to come together with six other people and really debate issues. You think about the law and you think about the court as the third branch of government. I miss the relationships mostly. As a trial court judge, it is kind of lonely. You're all by yourself. I love the people, even though we were very different. Conferences were engaging in the decisions that we did. I loved it more than I thought I would. When I first was approached about the Supreme Court, it had never been my dream job. But once I got there I really loved it.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: I think a lot of people feel that way. At least, I feel that way. Every conference is interesting.

Justice McGee Brown: Yes, that's right.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Let's go back a little bit to your beginnings. I understand your grandmother played an important part in your life.

Justice McGee Brown: She did.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Tell us about her.

Justice McGee Brown: My grandmother was a wise woman but didn't have a lot of formal education. It’s just the time in which she was born, 1906 in Macon, Georgia. But she was a strong woman. She had eight children. She divorced my grandfather in the early 50s when that was not done because he was an alcoholic. She said she’d end up having to wait for him on Fridays to get his check or he'd drink it all over the weekend. So she had this ramrod moral compass. When my mother got pregnant with me at 18, she insisted that she (my mother) would raise me. My grandmother told my mother, you’re not going to live here. You're not going to make me the caretaker of this child. You're going to do it. So I learned a lot about character and integrity and strength from her.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Did that ever help you when you're on the court?

Justice McGee Brown: All the time.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: How?

Justice McGee Brown: The way my grandmother helped me. I think it’s the difficult decisions we deal with and sometimes there's no easy answers. And there were.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Which is often why it’s in front of the court?

Justice McGee Brown: That's right.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: No one else has the answer.

Justice McGee Brown:  I can actually remember even before the Supreme Court when I was on the juvenile court. I had a case where a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old murdered this kid named Tony. It was a horrific gang-related murder. They fired into an open crowd of people as gang retaliation and they killed an innocent kid. Where my grandmother was my character and my strength during that is when Tony's mother, the victim's mother, sat in my courtroom every day with an 8 X 10 framed photo of her son. I had to make the decision whether or not to bind over this 14-year old. He weighed 90 pounds soaking wet. He was a blonde, blue-eyed kid.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer:  So this was a permissive bind over?

Justice McGee Brown:  It was a permissive bind over. He was 14 and the 17-year-old who I bound over, he was the one who had set the whole thing up. The 14-year-old rode on the handlebars of a bike. As they drove by, the older boy said fire, fire, fire.  He kind of fired wildly. But as I thought about this case, every day I looked at that framed picture of Tony. I could not bring myself to send this kid to an adult prison. He would have been killed. I mean, he was 90 pounds. He was 14 years old. No prior record. So I denied the bind over and I sent him to the Department of Youth Services until he was 21. Every year, on the anniversary of Tony’s death, his mother wrote me the most quite heart wrenching letter telling me what a horrible person I was. Every year, I wrote her back. I did that because I know, as the victim, how hard that was for her. But as the judge, I had to look at what the law required and I had to take into account his age. And it really was thinking about the lessons my grandmother taught me about sometimes you have to do what's right even when it's hard. But you'll never regret doing the thing that's right. You uphold your integrity and that's what I've always tried to live by.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer:  That's good. Now you were at Mifflin High?

Justice McGee Brown: I was at Mifflin High School.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: So you went to Ohio University and you studied journalism. But you didn't become a journalist. You went to Ohio State law school.

Justice McGee Brown:  I'm first generation college right? I wasn't thinking about college. I was thinking about this football player on the high school football team. It was really my guidance counselor who said to me you're too smart not to go to college. So when I went to college, people don't believe this, but I promise you, I went to college and they put us in this room of disadvantaged students. I’ll never forget that was on the orientation. They took us to this room and they had this faculty person talk to us as disadvantaged students. I called my mom and I asked, we're poor? We never felt like we were poor, right. I didn't know what major to declare. I had been on the high school newspaper. So, journalism seemed good, and it was actually my college adviser at the end of my sophomore year who said you should go to law school, because she asked me what I wanted to do with my degree and I said ‘I think I'd like to go work on the Hill. I loved politics. I'd like to go be a press secretary.’ And she said, ‘Well, everybody in Washington is a lawyer. You should go to law school.’ And I said, ‘Go to law school?’ And she said, “Yeah. It’s three more years of your life. You'll be 25 years old. You’ll have the world by a string.’ My grandmother, I come home that summer and I say to my grandmother, ‘You're not going to believe this, but this professor wants me to go to law school. I mean, who goes to college for seven years? Who stays in college until they're 25?’ And my grandmother used to have this big oversized chair, and she watched game shows, and she crocheted. And so I'm going through all these reasons at 20 why staying in school till I'm 25 is ridiculous. And she's not even looking at me. She's got her Pepsi here, and she's crocheting, and she doesn't even look up at me and she says, ‘Well, if you're going to live to be 25 anyway, why not be 25 and be a lawyer versus 25 and not? I thought, okay. So, that's why I went.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: You worked for the attorney general's office for a while.

Justice McGee Brown: I did.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: And then, what after that?

Justice McGee Brown: So, I worked in the attorney general's office for two years. Then I was the chief counsel for the Ohio Department of Corrections under the Celeste administration, and I did that for two years, and then moved over to create the chief counsel’s position at the Department of Youth Services because we were re engineering juvenile justice in Ohio at that time. That's when we went to Reclaim Ohio and tried to reduce the juvenile prison population. And I was there for two years, and then at 32 decided I should be a judge, and so ...

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: And so you did.

Justice McGee Brown: So in 1992, I ran for judge. And thank goodness for Bill Clinton and Ross Perot and George Herbert Walker Bush.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: While you were a common please judge, you helped create family drug courts.

Justice McGee Brown: Yes.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Tell us about that, because that time that was kind of new.

Justice McGee Brown: Yeah, right. I found myself – and I think this is something judges have to guard against – I dealt with all of these cases of child abuse, and the number one reason we were putting children into foster care was because they had drug addicted parents. And in my middle class judgment, I would look at these mothers and I'd say ‘I don't understand you. Why are you not fighting for your kids? If I tell you that all you have to do to get your kids back is to quit using drugs. It seems to me that you would do that. That's easy.’ And I had the director of Mayor Maryhaven, the medical director, say to me ‘I want you to come talk to some of my recovering addicts. And so, he had three women who were former addicts come sit in my chambers with me for a couple of hours and they changed my perspective because one of them said to me, ‘You are judging us based on how you feel about your children.’ This one woman said to me, she said, ‘When I was on drugs,’ she said, ‘I was pregnant and still smoking crack, and I would say God, ‘Please protect my baby,’ but I was still smoking crack. She said ‘I didn't care when that baby was out of me. I just wanted to go get high.’ She said, ‘So, you're saying to us these are your kids. That doesn't resonate for us.’ And so, it made me understand that the only way that I was going to help these women – and consequently help their children – was to get them to have personal consequences, and that was the thing they all said to me. What helped them finally get clean was jeopardy being in prison, the threat of going to prison. A couple of them spent years in prison. And so, I just started going to these conferences, learning about drug courts, and I agreed to take it on with no diminution in my docket, because you have to meet with them every week.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: It’s a lot more work.

Justice McGee Brown: It is. You have to hold the threat of jail over their head, drug test them every week. And a lot of the lawyers were skeptical at first, but it is that kind of, it's almost like human services work using the power of the court to get change.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: And we actually just had that debate this fall.

Justice McGee Brown: Yes that's right, Issue 1. That's right.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: OK. And then you also were involved in some smart programs. I know it involved truancy.

Justice McGee Brown: Oh my gosh, Ron O’Brien said, ‘You can't do this.’ One of the things I think whenever you're an elected official, you have to use the power that you have if you want to change the system. So, again looking at our numbers in foster care, some kids were going into foster care for really ridiculous things like their parents weren't sending them to school, or their parents were homeless and so we’re taking the kids away, and we’re putting them in foster care or kids were skipping school and being charged with truancy. And it's like, okay this is ridiculous. We're taking kids out of school for the reason that they're not going to school. And so, I started again trying to figure out what are the root causes of kids not going to school, and what I learned is, if kids don't go to school regularly by 4th grade, you're not going to remediate truancy because they just quit going to school after that.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: That's a habit.

Justice McGee Brown: That's habit. That's right. And so, what we learned is that when you're in elementary school, the decision not to go to school is a parental decision. It's not a kid decision. And so, I got with our social workers and I got with a very progressive principal at West Broad Elementary. She was a dynamo and that's where we had a lot of truancy. And so, we created this program with one school where we had, I would send the letters on court stationery to any parent whose child missed five unexcused days of school. And I would say to them, not sending your child to school is a violation of law punishable by six months in jail. And you are required to meet with a court social worker – and the principal of the school – at the school at 4 o'clock to discuss your child's truancy. For 85 percent of the cases we never had another unexcused absence ... But for those 15 percent, what we were able to find – and it became a lot of work – is that the reason they were missing kids were drug addicted parents. I had two parents who were drug addicted to heroin, who were living with their three girls in a Motel 6 hotel room. So, we were able to get some services into that family to get those kids out of that situation, and we got the mom in the drug treatment. The dad threatened to kill me and it was a whole messy thing, but at least we got those girls, so that they didn't grow up becoming products of the system.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Because they would never get out of it.

Justice McGee Brown: That's exactly right. So, we found that those 15 percent, if we can change that behavior early on, we keep that child from possibly ending up a juvenile delinquent or a felon, and we keep them out of the child welfare system by providing supportive services to the family.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Does that continue to today?

Justice McGee Brown: I don't know. When I left the court, we were in over 30 schools. So, because it does require, a judge has to be willing. It is work. So, you have to be willing to take that on. And every judge has their different priorities.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: OK. Well, after 10 years, you gave up the bench to go to the Center for Child and Family Advocacy.

Justice McGee Brown: To create it, actually.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: At Children’s Hospital ... What made you decide to give up the bench? It sounds like you're doing a good job.

Justice McGee Brown: But, it was a lot of work and in some ways depressing. And I was coming home wanting to wrap my kids in a bubble. You know, you see the horrificness of people, like a 15-year-old being gang-raped on a pool table at a party. You know those kinds of things, and I'd come home, and I'd have my middle school daughter wanting to go to a party and I wanted to wrap her in a bubble and say ‘You're never leaving this house,’ and it just got to the point where it was incredibly hard for me to leave it at the office. And it was actually my husband after that case, who said to me, ‘You have to do something different because I wasn't being the kind of mother I wanted to be. And at the point where I couldn't look at each individual defendant in front of me and see them – and not just another case – I knew it was time to leave. And every time I pull into the judge's parking garage, I'd be like, ‘Oh dear God, please get me through this day.’ That's when you know it's time to go home. And so, I just started having private discussions with friends – mostly at law firms – because what does a former judge do ...

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: You’ve got to get a job.

Justice McGee Brown: And, it was a friend of mine who was on the board of the hospital who said, ‘You know, we're thinking about creating this one stop. Your background would be perfect. If you're going to leave the bench anyway, will you come and talk to our CEO about it?’ And at that point, all it was an idea that had really been pushed by their trauma treatment department, because if you were a child who was sexually assaulted, back then, you'd spend hours in the emergency room, because not only are you dealing with your own injuries, but you're sitting there, hearing screaming, and crying, and gunshot victims, and you'd have to wait on the police to come, and the social worker to come. So, they wanted to do this one stop that was gaining attention across the country. So, I really got the chance to plan and build something new.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: That’s great as a one stop because you can see it even in the transcripts that we read, where they're going from one place to another, and kids get tired of that, and they kind of give up.

Justice McGee Brown: Yeah, well the University of Cincinnati, actually, they didn't have a free standing building but Cincinnati Children's, they had the first model, yeah.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: But, it's really, I see it in the more rural counties. They got the social worker, the police, and for a young person, that's kind of intimidating, time-consuming. But also a note, too, you were appointed on a five-person panel to review sex abuse allegations in the Columbus diocese. How was that? I mean, that's big in the news these days, but ’02 that was early on.

Justice McGee Brown: That was. Bishop Griffin, who was an amazing leader – not only in the Catholic diocese, but in the community here. And, he actually asked me to chair that board. It was challenging. I would say to you that our military has nothing on the Catholic Church. We have due process. They have uber-due process, and everything has to go to Rome. And so, of course all of these allegations were old and, you know, going through the investigation and taking them to what we call laicize a priest – move a priest from the active ministry – you have to go all the way to the Vatican. And there were some frustrating times, and some difficult conversations.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: As a non-Catholic, how did you feel about being in this hierarchical world?

Justice McGee Brown: I had no idea how hierarchical it was when I joined. I actually said to Bishop Griffin, You know, I'm not Catholic,” and he said, ‘That's precisely why I want you to do this.’ It was very interesting to me learning about the Catholic faith, and the sovereign state of the Vatican, and how the pope appoints people to positions. It was very interesting, and really, their role – which I think is why they've been so slow to respond to these U.S. allegations – they would say back to us when we would send recommendations for laicization, they would say, “Listen, these people take a vow of poverty when they join us. We have some obligation as people of faith to support them,’ and they couldn't wrap their heads around, but they violated the very tenets of what they promised to do. So, I just said ‘Rome and the Vatican,’ I would never take them on.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: I get that. Anyway, you're at the center for a while. And then, I think you ran for lieutenant governor.

Justice McGee Brown: Can't keep a job.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: That’s alright. I know a lot of people like that. But December 10th of 2010, big day, Governor Strickland names you the first African-American female member of the Ohio Supreme Court. What did that feel like?

Justice McGee Brown: It was, talk about coming full circle. I say to law students I never could have imagined when I was in law school that I would one day sit on the Ohio Supreme Court. It didn't hit me until my swearing in. I mean everybody of course I was excited, and I remember talking to a good friend of mine when the governor first approached me about this. My first instinct was: no. And you may have heard this story it was actually Maureen, Chief Justice O'Connor.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Chief Justice-elect at that point.

Justice McGee Brown: Chief Justice O’Connor and Justice Eve Stratton called me at separate times, and it leaked out that Ted was considering me, but I was not a gung-ho yes. And so, Maureen called me and said, ‘Do not pass up this opportunity,’ because from my perspective I had a great job at Children's, that I could go back to. I was serving on two corporate boards. I was about to take a huge income hit.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: I’ve been there. Trust me.

Justice McGee Brown: And you know, my husband's a high school teacher, so it's not like we have some huge trust fund.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Isn’t that an interesting discussion with your spouse?

Justice McGee Brown: Oh my gosh, yes.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: I mean, really, you're telling your spouse I want to do this, but it's going to cost us as a family.

Justice McGee Brown: That's exactly right. And Tony wanted to retire, and I said if I do this, you can't retire. And we have kids that are moving up to college. And you got to run again. I had just run ‘10. This is a huge state. And it was really one of my closest friends, we were sitting at Moretti’s in Upper Arlington, and she looked at me and said, “Are you insane? You're not going to take an appointment to the Ohio Supreme Court? And I went through all of my reasons and I said ‘What if I lose. This is a big state. I'll lose,’ and she said, “So tell me what is it that you can do now that you couldn't do as a former Supreme Court justice? You don't think you can get a job as a former Supreme Court justice. You don't think you can get on corporate boards as a former Supreme Court justice. So, it really was to your point a family decision. Once my husband said I'll keep working, he wasn't happy about it, but he agreed to it. It was my swearing in where it really hit me because it was the day Gabby Giffords got shot so January 8th or 9th, something like that because I remember that Marcia Fudge came up to me and said ‘I got to go. My best friend's just been shot.’ And, it was so cold. It was freezing cold and we were having it at the Martin Luther King Center. The lines were out the door. That's when it hit me. And there were two buses that came down from Cleveland.

There were all of these people who showed up, because my fear was that would be an empty auditorium, and it was in that moment that I realized that it really wasn't about me. I thought about my grandmother and my mother said to me, ‘You never cry.’ I literally cried during my swearing in, because to think about where she came from and to see all of it. I wish I could tell it was electric, the warmth. I mean, Justice Stewart will feel that when she’s sworn in. I mean you feel like another barrier broken, and all of these people here are celebrating that. So, it was very humbling. And I'll never forget that day.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Makes you feel responsible, doesn’t it?

Justice McGee Brown: Yes absolutely. Really. Absolutely.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: It really does.

Justice McGee Brown: Absolutely.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: All right, so you're on the court. Tell us some of your best memories.

Justice McGee Brown: So, one that I talk about a lot, in fact Justice Bob Cupp and I, we chaired the Ohio Civility Commission – which is a new commission started a couple years ago to help improve civil discourse in our state. And so, one of the reasons that I was excited to have Bob as the co-chair was my first conference. I remember we're sitting in that big boat table, right? And Bob and I are sitting across from each other. And whatever the case was he and I were on polar opposite sides, and we were just going back-and-forth, back-and-forth, and it was a long conference. So, we didn't finish till after 5 o'clock, and I go back to my chambers. Bob comes down – and by this time it's 5:45 it comes down. He comes into my office and he says, ‘Walk me through it again.’

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: That sounds like Bob. Very much so.

Justice McGee Brown: Doesn’t it? ‘Walk me through it again. I want to understand.’ And so, we sat on the sofa. We went through it again, and agreed to think about it. Ultimately, we ended up still on different sides, but the fact that he took that time with me, somebody brand new, to try to understand my position, that was a pivotal moment for me. And it really kind of set the relationships that we all had among each other. I remember one time really arguing for a position on a case and – you know – I was last to vote. So, you know, we'd always go around and ...

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: You’re the newest.

Justice McGee Brown: I was the newest and the youngest. But as we went around, you know, I'd be counting one, two, three.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: It comes down three-three and it’s on you.

Justice McGee Brown: And so, there was this one issue and we were debating it. I felt very passionate. I don’t even remember what it was, but I felt very passionate about it. So, finally Eve joined me and she said, “Down Killer. You've won.” So, we had lots of those great moments.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Any not so great memories?

Justice McGee Brown: The day I lost.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: That’s understandable.

Justice McGee Brown: I mean there were some days that were difficult where there can be times where people feel so passionately about it you have to keep it from becoming personal. Right? Because in that room where each advocates for our positions and there are times where that can be tense. But I don't ever remember it being so negative that I walked out disgusted. Maybe frustrated disappointed.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: But when you're advocating for your position.

Justice McGee Brown: That's exactly right.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: That is understandable. Is there any specific case that you wrote on – majority, dissent, concurrence – that you recall was really important to you.

Justice McGee Brown: Yeah. So, there's two: one – because, again, you asked me about how my grandmother's influence. This was a case that could have, may have, I don't think it cost me the election. I don't think there was much publicity about it, but it involved these three women who had been involved in a snatch-and-grab at a Macy's in Springfield, somewhere around Springfield. And the trial judge in that case had been reversed twice because he had inserted himself way too much into the case. I think he actually may have ended up facing disciplinary issues as a result of it, but he had ceased being an impartial arbiter and had become ...

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: An advocate in the case.

Justice McGee Brown: Yes, so the case had been reversed twice. So, it comes up to us because the prosecutor wants to try these three women a third time, and I argued very aggressively that double jeopardy had attached. And I remember some of my colleagues saying, “Yes, but you can't do that because then they'll be let out of prison,” and I said, “Well, that's what double jeopardy means.” I mean, jeopardy attaches and we had legal disagreements over whether it attached or not. I believe strongly that it had. And it was a 4-3 decision that double jeopardy had attached. And I remember calling my campaign manager saying, “So, this may make some news.”

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Most cases don’t.

Justice McGee Brown: I could see it in a commercial. But I felt that it's what the law required and I said to her, “You know, I'm going to do this because it's the right thing I'm not going to make a political decision. I'm going to do what is the right decision.” And so, it never it never came up but I knew she was so mad – and she was.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: But her job was political. Yours is being a judge.

Justice McGee Brown: That's right. That's right.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: What’s the other one?

Justice McGee Brown: And the other one was the last redistricting case.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Going to another difficult subject, the first case I heard when I sat on the bench here was a death penalty case. What's your view of the death penalty in Ohio? If you have one.

Justice McGee Brown: So, you should know that in my early career I represented the Ohio Department of Corrections and worked for them. I worked for them and I worked for them at a time where the death penalty had been suspended. But we were waiting because the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court. So, we're waiting on it to be re-implemented in the late ‘80s. If you talk to people – and I get from prison administration you have to have it for the worst of the worst – otherwise inmates with life sentences would kill other people with abandon and would attack corrections officers. So, there probably is a place for it for that very extreme, no redemption person. But I think it should be the exception and not the rule I think we'd be foolish to say that the vast majority of people on death row are poor and of color.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: In terms of serving on the Ohio Supreme Court, what do you want your legacy to be?

Justice McGee Brown: Oh, that's an interesting question.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: I could ask it the other way I normally do. But what do you want your tombstone to read?

Justice McGee Brown: No, don’t do that. Well, what I want my legacy to be is that I brought a collegial spirit, hard-working, and I did not vote on ideology. I think many people when they see Democrat – I won't name the client – but literally after this last election, I had several of my clients say, “Oh, my God.” I said, “They’re lawyers. They're smart people, relax. So, what I hope I did is I hope that I let lawyers in this state know that even though I'm a registered Democrat I was first and foremost a jurist. That I came to all of my cases as a jurist – not as a Democrat, not as a woman, or a black woman – but as a jurist. And I hope that's how people think of me. When I was sworn in, I said my goal when I raised my hand and take the oath is to always feel that I did the best job I could based on the facts and the law as I understand it.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Now, this is from one of your former law clerks.

Justice McGee Brown: Uh, oh.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer:  Former Justice McGee Brown is known for not ever having a hair out of place. True or false?

Justice McGee Brown: I'd say mostly true.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer:  They also said not afraid to laugh out loud even on the ninth floor of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Justice McGee Brown: I know they did say I was a little noisy.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer:  That’s okay. That floor needs a little noise in my mind.

Justice McGee Brown: You should hear me at the law firm, too, because you know everybody's hunkered down there thinking, “Who is this?

Justice Patrick F. Fischer:  Kind of getting near the end, looking back, if you had to give your younger self one piece of advice to 18-year-old Yvette McGee, what would you say?

Justice McGee Brown: I'd say enjoy the journey a little more. I think that I was so focused – particularly early in my career – on next. You know, because I remember I said look at people like Alex Shumate and Janet Jackson and I want to be lawyers like them. You know, I really want to make a difference, and I was always pushing – you know – to be the best, to take the next case. And that's good early on, but I think – as all parents – I would have probably spent a little bit more time at home. Now that my kids are grown and I have the benefit of hindsight. I would say to my younger self, “Create a little bit more balance. It's all going to work out. You don't have to be everywhere, doing everything, every day.” That's right. I think – as probably most parents – I have some regrets about things I missed because I thought it was absolutely important that I be at this political thing or be at this meeting, and as you grow older, and you realize how short a time it is you have with your kids, I would say, “Just relax and enjoy it a little bit more.”

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: Is there anything I've missed about you?

Justice McGee Brown: Oh my gosh.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer:  Anything you want the citizens of Ohio to know?

Justice McGee Brown: No, you were very thorough.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: I try to be.

Justice McGee Brown: I would say – just to add to that point about family – my entire career, you could not have scripted this out because I've gone to the attorney general's office, judge, private sector, back to elective office, now back to being in a practice, first time in a law firm. I think that it's important – especially for women to know – that it is a family. I mean, I’ve had this career because of my husband. I mean my husband has always been willing to support me. He spent his life as an educator – 37 years teaching in the public schools – but he was my biggest cheerleader, and he never had any ego issues with me doing all that I did and was always comfortable. I would drop the kids off. He would always pick them up. He took them to baseball practice and dance lessons. He was just the best supporter I could have had to make this life possible.

Justice Patrick F. Fischer: And that's what a spouse does. Thank you so much.

Justice McGee Brown: Thank you.