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

Portraits of four former Supreme Court justices to be unveiled Sept. 1
August 22, 2011

Portraits of four former justices of the Mississippi Supreme Court will be unveiled at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at the Carroll Gartin Justice Building, 450 High Street in Jackson.

The portraits are of former chief Justice Lenore L. Prather of Columbus, former Presiding Justice Fred L. Banks Jr. of Jackson, former Justice Reuben V. Anderson of Jackson, and the late former Justice William Campbell McLean of Grenada.

Former Justices Prather, Banks and Anderson are expected to attend the ceremony.

Speakers will include Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. of Jackson, Presiding Justice George C. Carlson Jr. of Batesville, Presiding Justice Jess H. Dickinson of Gulfport, Justice Ann H. Lamar of Senatobia, Justice James W. Kitchens of Crystal Springs, Justice Leslie D. King of Greenville, and Mississippi Bar President Hugh D. Keating of Gulfport.

The former justices and members of their families presented the portraits to the Supreme Court earlier this year. The portraits were put on display shortly before the May 20 dedication ceremony which celebrated the completion of the Gartin Justice Building. The portrait ceremony was scheduled for a later time so that the Court can publicly acknowledge these historic additions to its gallery of portraits of former justices.

Chief Justice Waller said, “Each of these justices made significant contributions to the advancement of justice, equality and the improvement of the legal system. We are delighted to be able to memorialize their careers of public service.”

Former Chief Justice Prather was the first woman to serve on the Mississippi Supreme Court, and was the court’s first female chief justice. She began her judicial career as West Point Municipal Judge in 1965. She served for 10 years as a chancery judge of the 14th Chancery District of Chickasaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Webster counties. She was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1982. She became a presiding justice in 1993. She served as Chief Justice from January 1998 to January 2001. She served as interim president of her alma mater, Mississippi University for Women, after she left the Court.

Justice Anderson was the first African-American member of the Mississippi Supreme Court, serving 1985-1991. He was the first African-American president of the Mississippi Bar, serving 1997-1998. He was chair of the Mississippi Economic Council 2005-2006. He served as a Jackson Municipal Court judge 1976-1977, Hinds County Court Judge 1977-1982, and as a circuit judge for the Seventh Circuit District, then made up of Hinds and Yazoo counties, 1982-1985.

Justice Anderson and Justice Banks, friends since childhood, practiced law together before and after their service on the Supreme Court. Both are now senior partners in the Jackson office of Phelps Dunbar LLP. As law partners in their early careers, they represented the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in litigation involving school desegregation, housing and employment discrimination, voting rights and other civil rights cases.

Justice Banks was town attorney for the Town of Fayette 1970-75. He served in the Mississippi House of Representatives 1976-1985, chairing the House Ethics Committee, a Judiciary Committee and the Legislative Black Caucus. Justice Banks twice followed Justice Anderson into judicial positions. He was appointed to the Seventh Circuit judgeship vacated by Anderson in 1985, and was appointed in January 1991 to the Supreme Court position previously held by Justice Anderson. Justice Banks, the second African-American justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, served until October 2001. He was a presiding justice 2000-2001.

Justice McLean served on the Supreme Court 100 years ago. He was appointed in 1911 and served through 1912. He was admitted to the bar in 1875 and spent most of his career in private law practice. In 1890, he was a delegate to the Mississippi Constitutional Convention. He died in 1928. He was the great grandfather of former Mississippi Bar President W.C. “Cham” Trotter III of Belzoni.