Ohio Gov. Appoints First African-American Supreme Court Justice

Ohio Gov. Appoints First African-American Supreme Court Justice


History has been made in Ohio with the appointment of former judge Yvette McGee Brown to the state’s highest court.

Outgoing Governor Ted Strickland appointed McGee Brown to the Ohio Supreme Court on December 10.  She is the first African-American woman and third justice of color overall to ever serve on the court.

McGee Brown recently ran for lieutenant governor on the same ticket with Strickland. However, they were unsuccessful in their bid that would have kept Strickland in office for another four years while elevating McGee Brown to the second-in-command post for the first time.

Despite the loss in his bid for the Ohio Statehouse, Gov. Strickland heaped nothing but praise on McGee Brown to accompany her nomination to Ohio’s high court.

“Her diversity of experience, work as a former judge, and advocacy for the welfare of Ohio families will add a unique perspective and balanced decision-making to Ohio’s Supreme Court,” Gov. Strickland said in a statement.

“Throughout her life, from a humble upbringing to a distinguished career serving others, Yvette has embodied the highest levels of personal integrity and an exceptional intellectual capacity,” the governor added.

Gov. Strickland appointed McGee Brown to the court this month due to an unusual vacancy that arose in April when Justice Thomas J. Moyer died unexpectedly.  At the time, Strickland appointed Franklin County Probate Judge Eric Brown, no relation to Yvette McGee Brown, to serve out Moyer’s remaining term as chief justice.

Mr. Brown, however, was defeated by Justice Maureen O’Connor in November when she ran for chief justice. The governor was forced to make yet another appointment to the court and he elevated Yvette McGee Brown to serve the remainder of O’Connor’s term as justice through 2012.

McGee Brown’s past experience includes service on the Franklin County Common Pleas Court as a juvenile and domestic relations judge from 1993-2002. She then became the founding president of the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

McGee Brown has also been a familiar face on several influential boards in the state including those of Ohio University, The Ohio State University Medical Center, the Columbus Academy, the Community Shelter Board, M/I Homes, Inc. and Fifth Third Bank of Central Ohio.

McGee Brown received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from Ohio University. She later earned a Juris Doctor degree from The Ohio State University.

The Ohio Supreme Court will welcome Yvette McGee Brown to her post on January 1.


  1. Great to see African American women on state high courts. I wish the President had seriously considered an African American woman for his two S.Ct. appointments.

  2. I agree with J.Smetana. Let's base appointments on the color of an individuals skin or their sex preference, not on the content of their character. I know Martin Luther King Jr wasn't concerned with the content of a person's character. Or… was it the other way around? I don't know. Either way, I'm glad this article's title focused on the candidate's race more than anything else. Glad to see we live in a society that strives to be colorblind. Bravo.