Jeff Brown has been a judge for 15 years, serving at all three levels of the Texas judiciary. He has served on the Supreme Court of Texas since his appointment by Gov. Rick Perry in 2013. In 2014, he won a statewide election to retain the seat. Before reaching the high court, Jeff served six years each as a trial judge and an appellate justice.
A sixth-generation Texan, Jeff was born and raised in Dallas County and grew up the son of a 35-year Dallas police officer. Jeff received a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin and his law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Houston. While in law school, Jeff served as Chief Note & Comment Editor of the Houston Law Review.
After law school, Jeff worked as a law clerk on the Supreme Court of Texas, first for Justice Jack Hightower, a Democrat, then for Justice Greg Abbott, a Republican (Jeff is just the fourth person to serve as a law clerk on the Supreme Court of Texas and later become a justice on the Court). Jeff then worked for Baker Botts in Houston. He had a diverse civil-litigation practice, trying jury cases throughout Southeast Texas. He is board-certified in civil trial law.
In 2001, Gov. Perry appointed Jeff to the 55th District Court. From the beginning, Jeff was consistently ranked near the top of the Houston Bar Association’s judicial-evaluation polls. During his six years on the trial bench, Jeff won an opposed election in 2002, was unopposed in 2006, and received two judge-of-the-year awards.
In 2007, Gov. Perry appointed Jeff to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals. As an appellate justice, Jeff authored hundreds of opinions. He also remained at or near the top of the bar poll. In 2011, Jeff was named Appellate Judge of the Year by the Texas Association of Civil Trial & Appellate Specialists. He won opposed elections to keep his seat in 2008 and 2012. In 2013, Jeff’s colleagues chose him to serve as interim chief justice of the court.
Jeff is co-editor of the Texas Rules of Evidence Handbook, an 1,100-page scholarly treatise published by O’Connor’s. An elected member of the American Law Institute, Jeff serves as an adviser for the Restatement of the Law Third, Conflicts of Laws. Jeff has been published in several law reviews and journals and is a frequent speaker on law and ethics. He is on the editorial board of The Advocate, the quarterly journal of the State Bar of Texas’ Litigation Section, and the board of the Houston Law Review, having recently served as chairman. He has worked as an adjunct law professor at the University of Houston and taught constitutional law at the National Judicial College. He is also a longtime member of The Federalist Society and a frequent speaker at the society’s events.
In 2009, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson appointed Jeff to the state's Multi-District Litigation Panel. He also served on the State Bar’s Pattern Jury Charge Committee. He is a trustee of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society.
While serving on the court of appeals, Jeff also volunteered every Monday afternoon as a judge for Harris County's STAR Drug Court ("Success Through Addiction Recovery"). STAR is a program for non-violent felony offenders who suffer from drug addiction. Through a combination of intensive drug treatment, community supervision, and accountability to the courts, STAR turns drug-addicted offenders into productive citizens.
Jeff is active in his community. He serves on the advisory board of LifeHouse, a Christian maternity home for unwed expectant mothers, and on the board of the Texas Historical Foundation. In recognition of his professional accomplishments and community service, the Texas Young Lawyers Association named Jeff Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas in 2006 and the Texas Jaycees named him one of Five Outstanding Young Texans in 2008.
At age 16, Jeff became an Eagle Scout. A longtime adult volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America, Jeff received the Outstanding Eagle Scout Award from the National Eagle Scout Association in 2016.
In 2016, Jeff was also presented the Rosewood Gavel Award by St. Mary’s University School of Law. It is awarded annually to an outstanding jurist in recognition of his or her contribution to our system of constitutional democracy.
Jeff and his wife, Susannah, a high-school English teacher, live in Kyle, Texas, and have three children: Kathleen, a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin; Rob, a student at the University of Texas; and Gus, in high school. They attend The Journey Church in Buda.
Justice Brown’s term ends December 31, 2018.