Melody Stewart was elected in November 2018 to a full term as the 161st
Justice to serve on the Supreme Court of Ohio. Prior to joining the Supreme
Court, Justice Stewart served on the Eighth District Court of Appeals – elected
to an unexpired term in 2006 and twice reelected to full terms. She served as
the court’s Administrative Judge in 2013.
Justice Stewart has more than 30 years of combined administrative,
legal, and academic experience. She was an administrator for a health care
management company, a music teacher, a civil defense litigator, and a law
school administrator and professor before being elected to the Court of
Appeals. While on the Eighth District Court of Appeals, Justice Stewart was
assigned to hear cases in other appellate districts and in the Ohio Supreme
Justice Stewart earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati; her law degree as
a Patricia Roberts Harris Fellow from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law,
Cleveland State University; and her Ph.D. as a Mandel Leadership Fellow at
Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.
She was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Cleveland
After practicing law as an assistant law director for the cities of Cleveland
and East Cleveland, Justice Stewart worked as a lecturer, an adjunct instructor,
and an assistant dean at Cleveland-Marshall before joining the full-time faculty.
Additionally, she taught at the University of Toledo College of Law and at
Ursuline College, and was director of student services at Case Western Reserve
University’s School of Law.
Justice Stewart has served on many boards and committees, including the
Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee, the Ohio Supreme Court’s
Judicial College board, was chair of the Ohio Capital Case Attorney Fee
Council, and served as a commissioner and chair of the Board of Planning and
Zoning for the city of Euclid. She has been a member of various professional,
educational, civic, and community organizations.
Justice Stewart is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts
in Ohio, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and the United States
Of historical note: Justice Stewart is the first African-American woman
elected to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Donnelly received his undergraduate degree from John Carroll University and his J.D. from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1992 and began working as an assistant prosecutor for Cuyahoga County. In 1997, he left that role to become an attorney at the firm of Davis & Young, where he worked until 1999. He then joined the firm of Climaco, Lefkowitz, Peca, Wilcox & Garofoli, working as a private practice attorney until his election to the common pleas bench in 2004. Donnelly was a judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas General Division in Cleveland, Ohio, from 2005 to 2018.
In 2011, Donnelly participated in a program with the National Judicial College called “Innovative Leadership/Management Skills for Future Court Leaders”. In 2012, Donnelly served as the Chair of the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.
On November 3, 2020 Judge Jennifer Brunner was elected Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. Previously she served as a judge of the Tenth District Court of Appeals for 6 years and the Franklin County Common Pleas Court for nearly 5 years. As a trial court judge Brunner founded the county’s adult felony drug court, known as the TIES (Treatment is Essential to Success) Program, now in its seventeenth year of operation. She was elected Ohio’s first woman Secretary of State on November 7, 2006 and held the office for four years. While in that office, she became the first Ohioan to receive the John F. Kennedy PrOn November 3, 2020 Judge Jennifer Brunner was elected Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. Previously she served as a judge of the Tenth District Court of Appeals for 6 years and the Franklin County Common Pleas Court for nearly 5 years. As a trial court judge Brunner founded the county’s adult felony drug court, known as the TIES (Treatment is Essential to Success) Program, now in its seventeenth year of operation. She was elected Ohio’s first woman Secretary of State on November 7, 2006 and held the office for four years. While in that office, she became the first Ohioan to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award from the bipartisan board of the JFK Library and Museum in Boston. Justice Brunner has 17 years of private law practice experience and has provided rule of law technical expertise to the government of the Republic of Serbia, election observation in the Arab Republic of Egypt, and rule of law instruction at the bar association of Sri Lanka through the U.S. state department (USAID), as well as provided remote rule of law and civic participation training through the American Bar Association to the Republic of Kazakhstan. She has gained a deep understanding of the importance of a strong and well-functioning judiciary to preserving peace and growing democracy through the rule of law. A native of Springfield, Ohio, Justice Brunner has been married to Rick Brunner since 1978. They have 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren, 2 dogs and 2 cats and spend time at their home in Columbus and at their farm in Columbiana County in Northeast Ohio.