Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears will deliver the Susette M. Talarico Lecture Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. in the Larry Walker Room of Dean Rusk Hall.
Sears became the first woman and youngest person ever to serve on the Georgia Supreme Court when she was appointed in 1992. There she spearheaded the Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Law, which addresses the legal and administrative issues resulting from the increasing fragmentation of Georgia’s families. She also was instrumental in the formation of the Committee on Civil Justice, an organization that develops, coordinates and supports policy initiatives to expand access to the courts for low-income Georgia residents.
Sears again made history in 2005 as the first African-American female chief justice in the U.S. when she was sworn in as chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. There she served until her retirement from the bench in 2009.
Currently, Sears is a partner with the law firm of Schiff Hardin and is the Distinguished Fellow in Family Law at the Institute for American Values, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution.
The lecture is co-sponsored by the School of Public and International Affairs’ department of political science and the criminal justice studies program.