Think you have a good grip of all the Jewish candidates running for office in the November elections?
Well, how about Judge Eric Brown from Ohio?
Yes, he is Jewish, and yes, he is running.
Eric Brown, if elected, will be the first Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. In fact, he already is. Brown was appointed by the governor to fill in the vacancy of the sudden death of Chief Justice Thomas Moyer in April, but now he is running for a full 6-year term.
If elected, Brown would not only be the first Jewish justice to head the court, he will also be the only Democrat residing on the highest court of the buckeye state. And this is one of the main points Brown is trying to make on his campaign.
“It’s important to have a mix of opinions,” he stressed in a recent interview with the Forward.
Brown started off as a private practice lawyer in Cleveland and than joined the Attorney General’s office. He said Jewish values are the driving force in his public life and that he is motivated by the idea of tikkun olam, or repairing the world.
“I talk about my Jewish values as something that informs and motivates me. I talk about it in front of all crowds, not only Jewish,” Brown said. “My Jewish identity is not something that guides me when I decide cases, but it is what brought me to this profession.
As the race currently looks, the dream of a first Jewish chief justice in Ohio may be far from coming true. According to a September 25 poll published in the Columbus Dispatch Brown is significantly behind his rival, Maureen O’Connor, who gets 46% of votes, compared to 18% who said they’d vote for Brown.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.