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Without PrecedentThe Life of Susie Marshall Sharp$
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Anna R. Hayes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832141

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807887813_hayes

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Chief Justice

Chief Justice

(p.367) Chapter 17 Chief Justice
Without Precedent

Anna R. Hayes

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on Chief Justice Susie Marshall Sharp's swearing-in ceremony, in which she devoted her first official remarks largely to a tribute to retiring chief justice Bobbitt and associate justice Higgins, lamenting the mandatory retirement law that was forcing them off the court. The state would be the poorer for their absence, Justice Sharp said, but—referring to her own age-limited term—she quipped that “the law that impoverished the state in 1974 may very well save it in 1979.” The ceremony took only fifteen minutes, but it came nearly half a century after the pudgy young Susie Sharp had launched her unprecedented career when she entered law school at UNC. Twenty years as a practicing lawyer, thirteen as a superior court judge, and another thirteen on the state supreme court had earned her this day, January 2, 1975, when she was sworn in as chief justice. She was sixty-seven years old.

Keywords:   Chief Justice, Susie Marshall Sharp, swearing-in ceremony, chief justice Bobbitt, associate justice Higgins, mandatory retirement law

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