Ohio's Newest Supreme Court Justice sits down with The Jag Times

The following story was written by a student on the staff of The Jaguar Times as part of Hilliard Bradley High School’s Journalism Production course.

by Hunter Wilson,

Staff Writer

Ohio has a new Supreme Court Justice. Her name is Justice Jennifer Brunner. I had the opportunity to sit down and ask her a few questions over a Zoom call. In addition to being a Supreme Court Justice, she is known for her past service of being Ohio’s first woman Secretary of State and a recipient of The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. In this interview I wanted to take a deeper look into how Justice Brunner got to where she is today; because every successful person was once a high school student unsure about their future.

Q: What does a Supreme Court Justice do?

A: “We essentially are an appellate court that reviews the decisions of other courts, although sometimes we have some original jurisdiction in some election cases and there are specific cases where we act as the first court that hears the case. When we say that we have original jurisdiction it means that if it’s ordering a government entity to do something they’re required to do that they’re refusing to do, which is like mandamus, we can be the first court to hear. Primarily our function is viewed as being the final decider of different issues of law”.

Q: What was your first job?

A: “I was sixteen years old, I was in a typing pool. It was before computers, that I knew of, and you sat in a room with a bunch of people and they gave us pages out of phone books, and we had to type them on these lists so they could be scanned by a computer. If you made a mistake you could backspace and it would put a black box over what you typed, but if you had more than three in a row you had to restart and retype the whole page again. So I would go and work after school and sit in a typing pool and type names and addresses for like four hours at a time”.

Q: Where did you go to school?

A: “I graduated from Columbus Public Schools. I went to Whetstone High School in Clintonville; that’s where I grew up. I went to Miami University and I got my undergraduate degree ultimately in Sociology with emphasis in Gerontology, the study of aging. I applied to Miami as a fine arts major. I wanted to do art. I changed my major to english education and then I found out I had to take more education classes than english classes and I thought that was frankly, stupid. How are you going to teach a subject if you didn’t know it? Such was the nature of being an education major. And then I dropped education and was english only. Then I double majored in english and sociology and once I met Chaucer in old english we parted ways with english degree and it was sociology, gerontology”.

Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?

A: ”My grandchildren. The fact that I have them. I just spent four and a half days with two of them. Just the fact that I was able to raise kids, and they were able to have kids, and I’m able to enjoy them. Life doesn’t get much better”.

Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?

A: (laughing) “That I actually play games on my phone. I design rooms, it’s called design home. I sometimes do that as a stress reliever. That’d probably be it”.

Q: What advice do you have for high school students today?

A: “To try to figure out who you really are because it takes a long time to do that. If you just try to figure out who you really are inside, not what other people think you are, but actually who you are, that takes a lot of work. I think Be willing to laugh at yourself because it makes it a lot easier when you make a mistake. Consider mistakes to be learning experiences because if you're gonna keep trying to avoid making a mistake then you’re gonna miss out on a lot of life”.

The Jag Times interview with Justice Brunner shows that even people who are very accomplished were once young adults unsure of what they wanted to do in life. She shows us high school students that you can be anything you set your mind to, but first you have to figure out who you truly are. Most importantly, she shows us that having an important job shouldn’t hold you back from having fun; so play your favorite game on your phone.