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High Court Speculation Doesn’t Derail Ga. Chief Justice’s Schiff Hardin Plans

Posted May 13, 2009 10:08 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Speculation about a possible U.S. Supreme Court nomination hasn’t stopped Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears from announcing plans to join Schiff Hardin in the fall.

“I’m going full steam ahead,” Sears told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sears announced last October that she plans to retire from the state supreme court when her term as chief justice ends in June.

Now Sears says she plans to join the Atlanta offices of Schiff Hardin and will work on a half-time basis for the first year, the Journal-Constitution says. She also plans to teach a family law seminar at the University of Georgia Law School and to serve in a one-year fellowship for the Institute for American Values.

At the institute, Sears will be the William Thomas Sears Distinguished Fellow in Family Law, named after Sears’ brother Tommy, who killed himself after returning from Iraq in 2007.

The Institute for American Values co-sponsored a Georgia Supreme Court summit last year promoting the value of marriage. Participants talked about topics ranging from the role of spirituality in supporting marriage to whether gay marriage promotes family stability.

Sears calls herself a "moderate with a progressive streak," the Washington Post reported earlier this month. She is friends with conservative Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.

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