2020 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Younger, Doty, Hopson, Jackson (15th), Michel, Seymour
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION MOURNING THE PASSING OF RETIRED MISSISSIPPI SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE LENORE LOVING PRATHER OF COLUMBUS, MISSISSIPPI, AND COMMENDING HER CAREER AS THE FIRST WOMAN TO SERVE AS A MISSISSIPPI SUPREME COURT JUSTICE.
WHEREAS, we join the Mississippi Supreme Court and The Mississippi Bar in mourning the passing of retired Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Lenore Loving Prather of Columbus, Mississippi, on April 11, 2020. Justice Prather was the first woman to serve as a Mississippi Supreme Court Justice; and
WHEREAS, Justice Prather was appointed to the nine-member court in 1982 by then-Governor William Winter. She was also the first woman to serve as Chief Justice, holding that role from January 1998 until her retirement in January 2001; and
WHEREAS, Justice Prather was Interim President of Mississippi University for Women from July 2001 to June 2002. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the school in 1953, when it was still called Mississippi State College for Women. She was one of only three women in law school at the University of Mississippi when she started studying there in 1953. She completed her law degree in 1955; and
WHEREAS, Justice Prather became a city Judge in her hometown of West Point in 1965. She held that post until September 1971, when then-Governor John Bell Williams appointed her as a Chancery Judge for Chickasaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Webster Counties. She was the first woman to serve as a Chancery Judge. Chancellors' duties include hearing land disputes, divorces and child custody cases; and
WHEREAS, her colleague, retired Justice Bill Waller, Jr., considered Justice Prather a mentor. She played an important part in the design and funding of the current Gartin Justice Building in Jackson, which houses the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals; and
WHEREAS, Mississippi University for Women awarded Justice Prather its Medal of Excellence in 1990 and the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Achievement Award in 1993. The University of Mississippi inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 1986. The University of Mississippi School of Law named her Alumna of the Year in 1995, and inducted her into its Law Alumni Hall of Fame in 2012. Then-Governor Haley Barbour awarded Prather the Mississippi Medal of Service in 2009; and
WHEREAS, Chief Justice Prather served as a leader and mentor and consistently lectured on professional standards of the practice, including ethics, integrity, civility, courtesy and adherence to the Golden Rule. Her life honored both The Mississippi Bar and this great state that she loved and served:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby mourn the passing of retired Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Lenore Loving Prather of Columbus, Mississippi, and commend her career as the first woman to serve as a Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, and extend our condolences to her surviving family.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to the family of Chief Justice Lenore Loving Prather, forwarded to the Mississippi Supreme Court, and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.