Sears on the shortlist

From ABC News:

Former Georgia Supreme Court chief justice Leah Ward Sears is also on the short list, a senior White House official tells ABC News.‬

Sears, who will turn 55 in June, was the first female African-American chief justice in US history, and when nominated for the state supreme court by then-Gov. Zell Miller in 1992, she became the first woman and the youngest person to ever sit on the court.‬

She stepped down from the court last year and currently practices law at Schiff Hardin.‬

A graduate of Emory University Law School, Sears was on President Obama’s short list last year. A member of the left-leaning American Constitution Society, she is also a friend of conservative Justice Clarence Thomas.‬

That would make two Georgians on the Supreme Court, both of whom are African-American.


  1. I’d be surprised if she got the nomination, solely because she attended Emory. Nothing wrong with Emory mind you, but an Emory graduate on the Supreme Court is outside of the normal educational representation of the Court.

    Meaning she did not go to Harvard/Yale/etc, and the legal community tends to favor those schools for the more lofty appointments.

    But hey, Nixon nominated a guy from Mercer – so who knows.

    • drjay says:

      looked it up real quick–7 of the 9 are either harvard or yale law grads…of the other 2 one went to columbia (transfering from harvard after her husband took a job in nyc) and the other from northwestern…

  2. ByteMe says:

    From a Senate vote calculus perspective, it would easily push her over the top for confirmation votes, since you’d immediately get the two Republican Senators from Georgia.

    • Chris says:

      and as far as I recall, she was fairly well respected here in GA. I mean, no one has yet to crawl out of the wood work to say she is pro-gay, anti-military, hates children, etc.

      • ByteMe says:

        You know that matters little when the spinmeisters go to work taking snippets of her judicial opinions and showing that it PROVES she’s a socialist/communist/inverse-racist/whatever.

        I didn’t always agree with her rulings, but I think she’s got the smarts and the background to do the job well.

  3. AtticusFinch says:

    There is no Constitutional requirement that any nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court have a law degree or even have practiced law. Unlike Georgia which requires Justices be active lawyers.

  4. hugoblacksupreme says:

    How old is she?

    My first thought is that Pres. Obama will follow the GB model and appoint a younger justice so that they serve on the bench a long long time.

  5. Scott65 says:

    I think what is even more telling is that her name was leaked “by a senior administration official”. Thats exactly what happened with Sotomyor. I’ve not heard of any other names that were “leaked”

  6. Captain Phatbeard says:

    There was general consensus prior to his selection that Obama’s most likely pick was Sotomayor. Hers was the name I heard the most among legal sources that watch this sort of thing.

    Right now a similar buzz is around Elena Kagan.

  7. unknowndude says:

    Chris – your original posting’s tagline should have read:
    “That would make two Georgians on the Supreme Court. ” PERIOD.

    What does the color of her skin have to do with anything – unless you’re fishing for something…

    • rugby says:

      Yeah there is nothing at all remarkable about two people serving on the highest court who came from a state where 50 years ago they wouldn’t have been fully human just because of the levels of the melanin content in their skin. Nothing at all.

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