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Alabama Supreme Court justice to speak in Lanett

LANETT — Alabama Supreme Court Justice Sarah Stewart will speak in Lanett on Thursday, according to Gary Vaughn, who helped arranged for Stewart to speak, and Greg Ward, a Lanett-based attorney and editor of The Alabama Lawyer. Vaughn said the speech would probably start at noon but recommended arriving earlier. The event is being hosted by the West Point Rotary Club and will take place at the Jane K Farrar Senior Center at 258 N Lanier Ave in Lanett.

Ward said he knows Stewart from dealing with her through The Alabama Lawyer.

“She’d been invited to come when COVID struck last year and couldn’t come because of COVID,” he said.

This may be the first time a sitting Alabama Supreme Court Justice will have visited Chambers County to give a speech.

“I can’t find another time any of them have been here,” Ward said.

Ward said Stewart’s speech will be on the workings of the Alabama Supreme Court — “what it does and how it does it, the inner workings of which are far more complicated and far more interesting than most people realize.”

After her speech, Stewart will be visiting the Chambers County courthouse in Lafayette for a tour, which will be hosted by Judge Isaac Whorton, according to Ward.

Stewart, a long-time resident of Mobile, was elected in November 2018 to serve as an Associate Justice on the Alabama Supreme Court, according to Alabama Judicial System.

She earned a bachelor of arts and a master of arts in communication from the University of Arkansas in 1985 and 1986.

“While in college, she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Order of Omega and served as president of the Student Government Association her senior year,” says the Alabama Judicial System website. “In 1992, Justice Stewart earned her J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School where she was vice president of the Law Student Association.”

After she graduated from Vanderbilt Law School, Justice Stewart practiced law with Hand Arendall LLC, Ezell & Sharbrough LLC, and later with her brother, Charlie. She was the first female president of the Mobile Young Lawyers. She served on many local and state bar committees.

“Justice Stewart was appointed a circuit judge in the 13th Judicial Circuit by Governor Riley in 2006 and ran for the position three times unopposed,” says Alabama Judicial System. “As a circuit judge, Justice Stewart handled thousands of civil and criminal cases, ranging from simple car wrecks to multi-million dollar business disputes and from possession of marijuana to capital murder. During her 13 years as a circuit judge, Justice Stewart served as the co-chair on Professionalism in the Bench and Bar, on the Supreme Court’s standing committee on the Alabama Rules of Evidence, and on many other Alabama State Bar and judicial committees. Justice Stewart was active in the leadership of the Circuit Judges Association, serving as Education Chair for eight years and was elected by her fellow judges in July 2018 as the first female president of the Circuit Judges Association.”

Within the Mobile community, Stewart has been a member of Leadership Mobile, Junior League of Mobile, 15 Place Homeless Service Center Board, Girl Scouts of the Magic Empire Board, and Ashland Place Methodist Church. Stewart is married to Craig Richard Stewart, a manager for Express Oil. They have two adult children, Mariah Suzanne Stewart and Charlene Rachel Stewart.