POLITICS

Leah Ward Sears: Supreme Court Short List Increases By One

Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears is on President Obama's short list of nominees to be the next Supreme Court justice, ABC's Jake Tapper reports.

Sears, 54, retired from her Georgia court position last year and now practices law for a private firm. She was the first African American woman to serve as chief justice in a U.S. court and, with her nomination by Georgia Gov. Zell Miller in 1992, became the first woman and the youngest person to ever sit on the Georgia Supreme Court.

Though Sears' record as a justice shows her to be relatively liberal, her close friendship with conservative Justice Clarence Thomas has received attention in the past few years.

Last year, the Washington Post reported that Sears' chances of being nominated by Obama to replace Justice Souter, who retired last year, may have been hurt by her closeness to Thomas.