ustice Yvette McGee Brown was born to a single, teenage mother on Columbus' East Side who worked two jobs to provide for her family. Early in life, her mother and grandmother instilled in her the importance of education and hard work.
Justice McGee Brown was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland in December 2010 to fill the seat vacated by Justice Maureen O'Connor when voters elected her Chief Justice in November 2010. Justice McGee Brown assumed the office on January 1, 2011. She was defeated in her bid to keep that office by Justice Sharon L. Kennedy.
A series of firsts defines the life and career of Justice McGee Brown. A first-generation college graduate, Justice McGee Brown is the first African-American woman elected to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. When she left the common pleas bench, she founded a nationally recognized organization that redefines how hospitals, law enforcement and social welfare groups respond to children and families caught in the cycle of abuse. In January 2011, she became the first African-American woman to serve as a justice on the state's highest court.
Justice McGee Brown was elected to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations and Juvenile division, in 1992. As lead Juvenile Court judge, she led the creation of the Family Drug Court and the SMART Program, a truancy and educational neglect intervention program. She served on the Common Pleas Court until 2002, when she retired from the bench to create the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children's Hospital. The Center is a multi-disciplinary child abuse and family violence program that co-locates prevention, assessment, treatment, research and advocacy services for children and families experiencing abuse.
A common theme in Justice McGee Brown’s professional and community work is her advocacy for children and families. After joining the court, she became chair of an interagency taskforce focused on improving the educational outcomes for children in foster care. Justice McGee Brown is also an active board member for the Law and Leadership Institute, a collaborative program among Ohio's legal community and eight law schools that gives underserved youth an opportunity to explore the law and develop stronger academic skills.
Justice McGee Brown has been an active community and corporate leader. She has served on the boards of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Ohio University, the OSU Wexner Medical Center, the National Council of the OSU Moritz College of Law, M/I Homes Inc., and Fifth Third Bank of Central Ohio. She is the former chair of the United Way of Central Ohio, The Ohio State University Alumni Association and the YWCA Columbus Board of Directors. In 2008, Justice McGee Brown was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame.
Among her many honors are the Ohio University Medal of Merit, and the Phillip's Medal for Community Service, the Ohio State University Distinguished Service Award, the Champion of Children Award from the Columbus Montessori Education Center, the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award, the Women of Color Foundation Woman of the Year, and the Girl Scout Great award. She was recently recognized as an Odds Changer by the National Children's Defense Fund.
Justice McGee Brown graduated from Ohio University in 1982 with a degree in journalism/public relations. She continued her education at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, earning her juris doctor in 1985. She has honorary doctorate degrees from Ohio Dominican University, Wilberforce University, and Central State University.
After leaving the Supreme Court, Justice McGee Brown joined the Columbus office of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue as a partner practicing business and tort litigation.
Justice McGee Brown is married to Tony Brown. They have three children and one grandson.
153rd Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio
Jan 1, 2011
to Jan 1, 2012