As the first woman to serve on two state appellate courts, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Jean Brown has earned a reputation for being strict but fair in upholding the laws of the state. She currently is seeking re-election to the state’s highest court.Neighbors recently had an opportunity to interview Justice Brown about her background, values and judicial philosophy. Neighbors: What is the most important thing for voters to consider when voting on a Supreme Court justice?Justice Brown: Integrity, experience, judicial philosophy and personal values are the most important things for voters to consider. The Alabama Supreme Court deals with a wide variety of cases; and different judges have different experience in various areas of the law. As an appellate prosecutor in the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and as a judge on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, I handled hundreds, if not thousands, of cases. My extensive experience in criminal law has proven invaluable since I’ve been on the Supreme Court.Voters should also consider a candidate’s judicial philosophy. I am a judicial conservative, which means that I strictly follow the law, no matter what’s at stake in a case. I believe in upholding the rule of law, without regard to what is politically popular or what my personal feelings may be. We should expect nothing less of our judges.I also think the personal values a person brings to office are important. I am a Christian, a conservative and cherish my roles as a wife and mother. Regardless of whether I’m on the Supreme Court, my faith and my family are the most important things in my life.Neighbors: What is your background and how do you describe your values?Justice Brown: I grew up in a Christian home in Birmingham and attended Phillips High School and Samford University.I worked during my college and law school years and learned a strong work ethic from my parents. My parents lived their Christian faith and taught me to live by the Golden Rule. They also taught me right from wrong and I knew from an early age that I was expected to do the right thing.Beginning with my freshman year in college, I participated in an outreach Sunday School program with Raleigh Avenue Baptist Church. Every Sunday morning I participated with a minister and a music leader and I played hymns at a nursing home so that the elderly could attend church services. I learned so much from the elderly friends I met during this ministry.Neighbors: When you are not working, how do you like to spend your time?Justice Brown: My husband, Terry, and I own a small family farm in Ft. Deposit, and we enjoy spending time there with our daughters. We enjoy walking the land and letting our black Lab dog run loose and just generally getting away from the hectic pace of life in Montgomery. When my daughters were younger, I enjoyed making smocked dresses for them. I also like to read both fiction and nonfiction.For approximately 16 years or so, I have been a preschool Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church in Montgomery. This is one of the things I enjoy the most, and it is a real privilege to have taught literally hundreds of children.I have also been privileged to tutor reading in our public schools as a Partner in Education.Neighbors: What is your opinion on the public display of the Ten Commandments?Justice Brown: I support the public display of the Ten Commandments. When the federal courts forced the Alabama Supreme Court to remove Chief Justice Moore’s display, it deeply troubled me. Even though we had to follow a Federal court order, I absolutely believe there is a constitutional way to display the Ten Commandments. I chaired a committee last fall and although many people don’t know about it yet, there is now a “Foundations of Law” Exhibit in the state judicial building. The Ten Commandments are displayed as part of the vital foundation of our laws.Neighbors: Why should you be re-elected to the Alabama Supreme Court?Justice Brown: My record as a judge on both the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Alabama Supreme Court shows that I have the conservative judicial philosophy that Alabamians want on our high court. I believe I have helped restore the court’s reputation for fair and impartial justice and have helped ensure that we have a level playing field for everyone.I have a record as a judge that most would call conservative, tough and fair. I firmly believe in the rule of law and I strictly apply the law as written by the legislature. I think that’s what the people of Alabama expect from their judges, and I believe that is why I won my last two elections. I’m looking forward to talking to as many of the voters as possible between now and Election Day on June 1st to get that message across.
Brown Brings Experience, Integrity To Supreme Court