He was married to the former Harriet Day.
He was elected Governor of Ohio for three two-year terms, serving from 1939 to 1945, each time winning with a greater margin of victory. Bricker espoused a stance against centralized government, preferring to increase involvement in state and local governments, and made this known in his inaugural address as Governor:
Bricker was the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1944, sharing the unsuccessful ticket with Presidential nominee Thomas Dewey, which lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was then elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1946 and re-elected in 1952, serving from January 3, 1947, to January 3, 1959.
His Senate service is best remembered for his attempts to amend the United States Constitution to limit the President's treaty-making powers (the Bricker Amendment). He was the chairman of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce during the 83rd Congress.
In 1958, Stephen Young ran for the Senate against the incumbent Bricker. Bricker seemed invincible, but Young capitalized on widespread public opposition to the proposed "right to work" amendment to Ohio's constitution, which Bricker had endorsed. Few thought that Young, 70 at the time, could win; even members of his own party had doubts, particularly Ohio's other senator, Democrat Frank J. Lausche. In an upset, Young defeated Bricker, who then retired from public life.
After leaving the Senate, John Bricker resumed the practice of law. He died in Columbus at the age of ninety-two.