Beyond The Bench: Former Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears On A Life Of Breaking Barriers

May 30, 2019

Behind the bench in Georgia's Supreme Court, there is an inscription on the wall. It reads "Fiat justitia ruat caelum". It's Latin for "Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall." While Georgia was one of the last states at the time to establish its high court — in 1846 — there have been many firsts since.

That includes electing the first African-American woman as a Chief Justice, anywhere in the country, in 2005. The Honorable Leah Ward Sears broke a number of other precedents in her climb to the state's highest judicial title, and did not stop there. The now-retired Chief Justice joined On Second Thought to reflect on why she pursued a career in the law, the steep climb from lawyer to judge to the Georgia Supreme Court, and life after stepping down from the bench.


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