Song for Judge Anna J. Brown: Doing the Right Thing, the Right Way, for the Right Reasons

Many thanks to Portland Attorney Jim Coon for composing this song (original music and lyrics) in honor of our 2019 USDCHS Lifetime Service Award recipient Judge Anna J. Brown. 

I was standing on the corner, Southwest Main and Third Avenue
The light was red, but there was nobody comin’
I wondered what should I do.
I thought “Heck, this don’t take much nerve,” I took one step off the curb
Then I looked up, and there stood Anna J. Brown.

She was on the other side, waiting patiently
Looking at me over top of her glasses,
You prob’ly know what I mean.
Well I’m no fool, whatever else I lack,
So I just smiled, took one step back.
That’s Law Enforcement, a la Anna J. Brown.

Winter, spring, summer, fall, she’s standing on the rule of law.
Others may cross, but she’s not gonna budge
Gotta set an example when you’re the judge,
Gotta wait until the light goes green, even when the rain is freezin’
Doin’ the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.

Well her family came over in 1952
That farm in East Prussia just wasn’t the same with the Old Country torn in two.
“American Citizen” was the prize, whole family had to get naturalized
Then a baby girl was born, little Anna Jaeger, later Brown.

That's why Judge Brown's favorite part of being a judge--

Other than bringing cookies to jurors during deliberations,
Or knitting little hats for newborn babies of courthouse staff--
Is swearing in new naturalized citizens up on the 16th floor.
She likes to show 'em the workbooks her folks used to get ready for their citizenship examinations.
You know, Anna lost her Mama when she was in law school, and that was a hard time.

But Mama was thinking ahead, and among her personal effects,
They found that old citizenship study guide, and it was open to the page entitled
"How to Become a Federal Judge."

She welcomes them all, according to the rule of law.
Through good and bad times, for better or worse, Anna’s got family, and family comes first.
She married Officer Paul, a man of the law she can believe in (and he can cook, too)
Doing the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.

Well, she’ll tell you “I was educated entirely in Multnomah County,”
She went to work in Jack Beatty’s courtroom and said “This is where I want to be.”
The white shoe lawyer, cop on the beat, she saw it all from a front row seat,
Left a lasting impression on, young Anna J. Brown.
She liked what she saw, the daily doings of the rule of law.
Nothing else comes close by a mile, to the special magic of the jury trial.
And Judge Jack said “Anna, you know I’m not teasin’,
You gotta do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.”

Well, Anna wasn’t the first woman Bullivant Hauser ever hired,
But you could hear Ron Bailey mutterin’ to himself “Doesn’t this girl ever get tired?”
(He mighta said “woman,” but this was early in the Reagan administration)
Ready for trial from the day she was born, cut her teeth on a verdict form,
That’s trial preparation, a la Anna J. Brown.
She heard the call, a calling to the rule of law.
University Club said “Ladies, go round the back”
Anna said “Come on boys, we’re joinin’ the MAC.”
She got Mr. Bullivant singing Motown, I hear it sounded pretty decent
They were doing the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.

She came on like a cross between Mary Poppins and Judy Dench
Governor Barbara said “Anna, I’d like to see you on the bench,”
She burned with a fire nobody could douse, the hardest workin’ judge in the courthouse
Then the President Bill said “What’s this I hear about Anna J. Brown?”
The tales were gettin’ tall, a legend in the rule of law.
She said “Circuit court’s sure been good to me, but I kinda like the sound of Article III”
She was doing so much more than just mindin’ her Ps and her Qs and
Doin' the right thing the right way, for the right reason.

With Judge Brown on the bench, you’re gonna get your say,
But get to the point, and don’t you ever make the jury wait.
It’s her job to say what you can and you can’t, ‘Cuz you know she’s no potted plant,
And that’s courtroom management, a la Anna J Brown.
She does it all, and it’s all about the rule of law.
Ain’t nothin’ fancy, she don’t do it for the perks,
Just picks up her lunch pail and gets down to work,
And one thing you can count on in any season,
She’ll be doin’ the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.

Judge Brown took the bench on a motion to dismiss
Counsel quoted something she wrote for the defense bar, back in ‘86
She said “Then I was an advocate, I argued with pride,
But now it’s my job to see both sides,
So, with all due respect, your motion is denied.”

She made the call, found the facts and applied the law,
Your side and my side might not agree, But everyone knows that, for AJB,
It’s all about gettin’ it right, not who she’s pleasin’,
She’s doin' the right thing, the right way... for the right reason.

And in the pantheon of Barb and Betty Roberts, Susan Graber, Ginny Linder,
Martha Walters and Sue Leeson,
She’s doin’ the right thing the right way,
Doin’ the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.

(published with permission)


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