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Daily Times Leader - "Supreme Court Justice speaks to Rotary"

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Daily Times Leader - "Supreme Court Justice speaks to Rotary"

Speaking before the local Rotary Club Thursday, Justice Ann Lamar shared her feelings about her first year on the Supreme Court bench.

"It's been a very interesting year," Lamar said. "There have been days where it has been a little overwhelming but always rewarding."

Gov. Haley Barbour appointed the Senatobia native to the court last May upon the retirement of Presiding Justice Kay Cobb. Lamar is the third woman to serve on the state's highest court.

Lamar previously had served for more than five years as a Circuit Court judge the 17th Circuit Court, which is composed of DeSoto, Panola, Tallahatchie, Tate and Yalobusha counties.

Earlier in her career, Lamar served for more than nine years as Assistant District Attorney and for almost two years as district attorney in the 17thDistrict. She also practiced law with her husband for more than seven years in Senatobia, which included civil, criminal and domestic relations cases.
The mother of two may have been destined for her profession ― considering her father is former Chancery Judge Leon Hannaford.

"I don't know if I've ever seen anyone as steeped in the law as Justice Lamar," said Rotarian J. Dwight Dyess, who introduced the guest speaker to the club.

Lamar noted that four Supreme Court seats are open in the upcoming election — including her own.

"It's really been a privilege to serve, an honor to serve," the justice said. She added that her experience on the Supreme Court has been a unique one.

"This is a collaborative effort among nine justices," she said. "We have much more opportunity to look at the big picture."

Some appeal cases the Supreme Court will hear automatically, Lamar explained — including election contests, annexations, bond issues, utility rates and "anything that involves a constitutional question."

The justice said one area of concern to her is equal access to the judicial system.

"We just have so many people in this state who are unable to afford attorneys," Lamar said. The credo of her profession is "to have a justice system all people can take part in," she said, "not just those who have money or the powerful."

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