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Justice profile: Brown happy for public to see court in action

By Staff Reports
Feb. 15, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Brown

The philosophy guiding the Texas Supreme Court to hold sessions beyond Austin is simple, Place 6 Justice Jeff Brown says.

“We just hope to make the public more aware of what their Supreme Court does and how we do it,” the former Houston area Court of Appeals judge said. “Not everyone can get to Austin to see our arguments, so we bring the court to them.”

Brown was appointed to the court in 2013 by then-Gov. Rick Perry when Justice Nathan Hecht was elevated to be chief justice. Brown earned his jurisprudence degree with high honors from the University of Houston, launching a career that began as a briefing attorney for then-Justices Jack Hightower and now-Gov. Greg Abbott.

Brown moved into private practice with the Houston firm of Baker Botts before his election to preside over the 55th District Court in Houston from 2001 until 2007, when he became a justice on the 14th Court of Appeals in the Bayou City.

Brown’s career has included an affinity for helping younger attorneys, evidenced by the Eagle Scout’s liaison status to the Houston Young Lawyers Association and chairmanship of its Nonprofit Law Committee. The Texas Young Lawyers Association named him its Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas in 2006.

He looks forward to seeing young, eager faces in the Belcher Center audience and throughout the court’s visit.

“For those pondering a legal career, they’ll get to see exactly what lawyers do — how intellectually stimulating and challenging it can be,” he wrote in an email response to questions. “For younger students, it’s much the same thing. Their only exposure to the courts is usually TV. This is the real thing. Also, our hosts usually roll out the red carpet for us. It’s because the judiciary is held in high esteem.

“It’s healthy for our Republic for young people to see that some institutions are worthy of their respect and their high regard. We hope we live up to expectations!”

Brown also welcomes the opportunity Northeast Texans have to witness part of their government they rarely ponder.

“The judiciary and the judicial process are too mysterious to most Texans,” he said. “By getting to see us up close and in person, we hope to enhance the faith they have in the judicial system.”

It’s also nice to get out of town once in a while.

“One of the best parts of being a statewide elected official is getting to travel across this beautiful state and meet its remarkable people,” he said. “Yes, it’s nice to get out of the office!”

Brown and his teacher wife, Susannah, are parents of three children and members of Bellaire United Methodist Church.

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