Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Chief Justice Smith to speak at National Day of Prayer observance

May 2, 2007

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice James W. Smith Jr. will be among the speakers at the observance of National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 3, in Washington, D.C.

Chief Justice Smith is among seven speakers who will take part in the National Observance from noon to 3 p.m. at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Chief Justice Smith is scheduled to address the gathering at 2:02 p.m.

Chief Justice Smith called the opportunity to speak at National Day of Prayer “probably one of the most challenging honors that I’ve ever received.”

He also is among guests invited to hear President Bush’s remarks in the East Room at the White House Thursday morning.

Chief Justice Smith said his Christian faith “serves as a barometer to remind me to always adhere to the Constitution and the law, and do the right thing....I think my moral values and my faith give me guidance in making me pause and reflect and apply the laws and the Constitution.”

Chief Justice Smith joined the Mississippi Supreme Court in January 1993. As the court’s longest serving member, he became Chief Justice on April 1, 2004.

He has been a public servant for 34 years. Beginning in 1973 and continuing until 1980, he was city prosecuting attorney for the city of Pearl. He served as Rankin County prosecuting attorney in 1976. He was appointed district attorney for the 20th Circuit Court District of Rankin and Madison counties in 1977. He continued to serve in that position until he was appointed Rankin County Court Judge in 1982. He was a Rankin County Court judge until his election to the Supreme Court.

He attended Hinds Junior College, now Hinds Community College. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in history and political science from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1965. He earned his law degree from the Mississippi College School of Law, formerly Jackson School of Law, in 1972 while serving as principal of Pearl Junior High School. He earned a master’s degree in education administration from Mississippi College in 1973.

Chief Justice Smith was born in Louisville and grew up in Pelahatchie. He lives in Rankin County.