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Susie Marshall Sharp (July 7, 1907 – March 1, 1996) was an American jurist who served as the first female chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. She was not the first woman to head the highest court in a U.S. state, but is believed to be the first woman elected to such a post in a state, like North Carolina, in which the position is elected by the people separately from that of Associate Justice. In 1965, Lorna E. Lockwood
Lorna E. Lockwood
became the first female chief justice of a state supreme court, but in Arizona, the Supreme Court justices elect their chief justice.

Contents

1 Early years 2 Career 3 Retirement 4 See also 5 External links

Early years[edit] Sharp was born in 1907 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
to Annie (née Blackwell) and James M. Sharp but spent most of her life in Rockingham County, North Carolina. In 1926 she entered law school at the University of North Carolina
North Carolina
at Chapel Hill as the only woman in her class. In 1929, Sharp went into private practice with her father in the firm of Sharp & Sharp. Career[edit] In 1949, Governor Kerr Scott
Kerr Scott
appointed her a state Superior Court judge, making her the first female judge in the history of the state. After Sharp became a Superior Court judge, Tom Bost of the Greensboro Daily News questioned "what would happen if Sharp was faced with trying a case of rape? Wouldn't that be too much for a woman?" Judge Sharp wrote back that "In the first place, there could have been no rape had not a woman been present, and I consider it eminently fitting that one be in on the 'pay-off'." While holding court as a Superior Court judge in Burke County, North Carolina, county commissioners refused, upon learning of her assignment to their county, to modify the only bathroom facilities in the judge's chambers; a sink and a urinal that hung on the wall. Judge Sharp opened court on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. and ordered the sheriff to "invite" the county commissioners over to the courthouse. By 11:00, the courthouse was aflutter with the scurrying about of plumbers, carpenters, and electricians, while the county commissioners narrowly avoided a few nights' repose in the county jail. Judge Sharp was re-appointed by successive governors, and in 1962, Governor Terry Sanford
Terry Sanford
made Sharp the first female Associate Justice of the North Carolina
North Carolina
Supreme Court. Justice Sharp was elected by the people that November and again in November 1966 to a full eight-year term. In 1974, voters gave her 74 percent of the vote to elect her Chief Justice of the North Carolina
North Carolina
Supreme Court, succeeding her close friend, Chief Justice William H. Bobbitt. Time, in its January 6, 1976 cover story, named Sharp one of the 12 "women of the year" for 1975. In so doing, Time called her a "trail blazer" with a "reputation as both a compassionate jurist and an incisive legal scholar". Senator Sam Ervin, a fellow Democrat, recommended to President Richard Nixon that he appoint her to the United States
United States
Supreme Court. Nixon declined the advice, and a woman would not be appointed to the Court until Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
in 1981. During Justice Sharp's 17-year tenure on the Supreme Court, she wrote 459 majority opinions, 124 concurring opinions, and 45 dissenting opinions. Retirement[edit] By law, Justice Sharp had to retire at age 72, which came in 1979. After retiring, she successfully pushed for a constitutional amendment in 1980 that required all judges to be lawyers after her 1974 opponent was a fire extinguisher salesman. Sharp died at age 88, in 1996. Justice Sharp was also the aunt of Susie Sharp Newsom Lynch, subject of the book Bitter Blood by Jerry Bledsoe. See also[edit]

List of female state supreme court justices

External links[edit]

Chief Justice Susie Sharp, The Supreme Court of North Carolina
North Carolina
/ Portrait Presentations. Inventory of the Susie Sharp Papers, 1900-1997, in the Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill UNC Press: Without Precedent, The Life of Susie Marshall Sharp by Anna R. Hayes

Legal offices

Preceded by William Bobbitt Chief Justice of the North Carolina
North Carolina
Supreme Court 1975–1979 Succeeded by Joseph Branch

Awards

Preceded by Faisal of Saudi Arabia Time Person of the Year 1975 Served alongside: Susan Brownmiller, Kathleen Byerly, Alison Cheek, Jill Conway, Betty Ford, Ella Grasso, Carla Hills, Barbara Jordan, Billie Jean King, Carol Sutton, Addie Wyatt Succeeded by Jimmy Carter

v t e

Time Persons of the Year

1927–1950

Charles Lindbergh
Charles Lindbergh
(1927) Walter Chrysler
Walter Chrysler
(1928) Owen D. Young
Owen D. Young
(1929) Mohandas Gandhi (1930) Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval
(1931) Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
(1932) Hugh S. Johnson
Hugh S. Johnson
(1933) Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
(1934) Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie
(1935) Wallis Simpson
Wallis Simpson
(1936) Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
/ Soong Mei-ling
Soong Mei-ling
(1937) Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
(1938) Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
(1939) Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
(1940) Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
(1941) Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
(1942) George Marshall
George Marshall
(1943) Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
(1944) Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
(1945) James F. Byrnes
James F. Byrnes
(1946) George Marshall
George Marshall
(1947) Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
(1948) Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
(1949) The American Fighting-Man (1950)

1951–1975

Mohammed Mosaddeq (1951) Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II
(1952) Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Adenauer
(1953) John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
(1954) Harlow Curtice
Harlow Curtice
(1955) Hungarian Freedom Fighters (1956) Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
(1957) Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
(1958) Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
(1959) U.S. Scientists: George Beadle / Charles Draper / John Enders / Donald A. Glaser / Joshua Lederberg
Joshua Lederberg
/ Willard Libby
Willard Libby
/ Linus Pauling
Linus Pauling
/ Edward Purcell / Isidor Rabi / Emilio Segrè
Emilio Segrè
/ William Shockley
William Shockley
/ Edward Teller / Charles Townes / James Van Allen
James Van Allen
/ Robert Woodward (1960) John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
(1961) Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
(1962) Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
(1963) Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
(1964) William Westmoreland
William Westmoreland
(1965) The Generation Twenty-Five and Under (1966) Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
(1967) The Apollo 8
Apollo 8
Astronauts: William Anders
William Anders
/ Frank Borman
Frank Borman
/ Jim Lovell (1968) The Middle Americans (1969) Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt
(1970) Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
(1971) Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
/ Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
(1972) John Sirica
John Sirica
(1973) King Faisal (1974) American Women: Susan Brownmiller / Kathleen Byerly
Kathleen Byerly
/ Alison Cheek / Jill Conway / Betty Ford
Betty Ford
/ Ella Grasso / Carla Hills / Barbara Jordan / Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King
/ Susie Sharp / Carol Sutton / Addie Wyatt (1975)

1976–2000

Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
(1976) Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
(1977) Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
(1978) Ayatollah Khomeini (1979) Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
(1980) Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa
(1981) The Computer (1982) Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
/ Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
(1983) Peter Ueberroth
Peter Ueberroth
(1984) Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
(1985) Corazon Aquino
Corazon Aquino
(1986) Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
(1987) The Endangered Earth (1988) Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
(1989) George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
(1990) Ted Turner
Ted Turner
(1991) Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
(1992) The Peacemakers: Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
/ F. W. de Klerk
F. W. de Klerk
/ Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
/ Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
(1993) Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
(1994) Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich
(1995) David Ho
David Ho
(1996) Andrew Grove
Andrew Grove
(1997) Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
/ Ken Starr
Ken Starr
(1998) Jeffrey P. Bezos (1999) George W. Bush
George W. Bush
(2000)

2001–present

Rudolph Giuliani (2001) The Whistleblowers: Cynthia Cooper / Coleen Rowley
Coleen Rowley
/ Sherron Watkins (2002) The American Soldier (2003) George W. Bush
George W. Bush
(2004) The Good Samaritans: Bono
Bono
/ Bill Gates
Bill Gates
/ Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates
(2005) You (2006) Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
(2007) Barack Obama
Barack Obama
(2008) Ben Bernanke
Ben Bernanke
(2009) Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg
(2010) The Protester (2011) Barack Obama
Barack Obama
(2012) Pope Francis
Pope Francis
(2013) Ebola Fighters: Dr. Jerry Brown / Dr. Kent Brantly
Kent Brantly
/ Ella Watson-Stryker / Foday Gollah / Salome Karwah
Salome Karwah
(2014) Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel
(2015) Donald Trump
Donald Trump
(2016) The Silence Breakers (2017)

Book

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 70560062 LCCN: n90705284 SUDOC: 134670477 SN

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