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

Ann H. Lamar takes oath as newest Supreme Court Justice

May 21, 2007

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Ann Hannaford Lamar took the oath of office Monday, May 21.

Chief Justice James W. Smith Jr. administered the oath in a brief informal ceremony in his office at the Gartin Justice Building in Jackson.

A formal investiture ceremony will be scheduled later in Senatobia. A date has not been announced.

Gov. Haley Barbour named Justice Lamar, 54, of Senatobia, to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. She takes the position previously held by Presiding Justice Kay B. Cobb of Oxford, who retired May 1. Justice Lamar will serve out the unexpired term, which ends in January 2009.

Justice Lamar said, “This is exciting and I’m looking forward to it. I didn’t sleep very much last night.”

Chief Justice Smith said, “You honor us by taking this on. We are just thrilled to have another trial judge up here with the experience you have.”

Justice Lamar served five and a half years as a circuit judge from the 17th Circuit Court, which is made up of DeSoto, Panola, Tallahatchie, Tate and Yalobusha counties. She was appointed to the Circuit Court vacancy created when former Circuit Judge George C. Carlson Jr. of Batesville was appointed to the Supreme Court. She had served for a year and 10 months as district attorney. She was an assistant district attorney from August 1987 to January 1993 and from January 1996 to December 1999.

Justice Carlson said, “I just look for ward to working with you.”

Chief Justice Smith noted that newly assigned cases are waiting for her.

Chief Justice Smith, who made timeliness a priority when he became head of the court three years ago, said, “We have worked really hard at this place over the last three years and we have met every deadline in that three year time period. She is coming in without a backlog....They are all brand new (cases) that have been delivered to her suite. That is a first. It has never happened before. That is because of the hard work of all of these judges.”

Presiding Justice William L. Waller Jr. of Jackson noted that Justice Lamar’s father, the late Chancellor Leon Hannaford of Senatobia, would have been especially proud.

Justice Lamar said one of the things she brought to her new Jackson office is a photo of her father. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.”

Justice Lamar becomes the third woman to serve on the Mississippi Supreme Court. Her predecessors were Chief Justice Lenore Prather of Columbus and Presiding Justice Cobb.

Justice Lamar’s husband, John T. Lamar Jr. of Senatobia, said he and his wife hung out their shingle as “Lamar and Lamar, Attorneys at Law,” after she graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1982. After a few days, a retired insurance agent who walked by the office daily came in and inquired about the lawyers Lamar and Lamar.

“Ann was there. He asked her, ‘Who are these Lamar brothers?’ She said, ‘You are looking at one of them,’ ” he told the gathering of justices, family, friends and staff.