Sarah Elizabeth Parker

27th NC Supreme Court Chief Justice

Date Born: August 23, 1942

Date Died: Living

Place Born: Charlotte, NC

Place Buried: Living


Chief Justice 2006-2014
Associate Justice 1993-2006

Sarah Elizabeth Parker was born on August 23, 1942 in Charlotte, NC, the daughter of Augustus Parker and Zola Elizabeth (Smith) Parker. She graduated from Garinger High School in 1960. She first attended Meredith College from 1960 to 1962, then received her undergraduate degree in Education from the University of North Carolina in 1964.

From 1964 to 1966, Sarah Elizabeth Parker served with the Peace Corps, teaching English in Ankara, Turkey.

After the Peace Corps, Sarah Elizabeth Parker earned her J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law in 1969.

From 1969 to 1984, Sarah Elizabeth Parker was an attorney in private law practice in Charlotte, NC.

On December 28, 1984, Governor James Baxter Hunt, Jr. appointed Sarah Elizabeth Parker as a Judge in the North Carolina Court of Appeals. She was elected in her own right on November 4, 1986, re-elected on November 6, 1990, and she remained on this bench until 1993.

From 1987 to 1988, Sarah Elizabeth Parker was Vice President of the North Carolina Bar Association.

In the 1992 General Election, Sarah Elizabeth Parker was elected as an Associate Justice on the NC Supreme Court, defeating Isaac Beverly Lake, Jr. in his electoral bid to retain his appointment, which he lost. She was sworn in during January of 1993 and was re-elected in 1996 and 2004.

On January 19, 2006, Governor Michael Francis Easley appointed Sarah Elizabeth Parker as the next Chief Justice on the NC Supreme Court, replacing Chief Justice Isaac Beverly Lake, Jr., who reached the mandatory retirement age on January 30, 2006. She was sworn in on February 6, 2006. She was elected in her own right on November 7, 2006, and served until August 31, 2014, when she too reached the mandatory retirement age.

In 2006, Sarah Elizabeth Parker was given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Pheiffer University.

Date of Birth: August 23, 1942

Place of Birth: Charlotte, North Carolina

Early Years

Born in Charlotte on August 23, 1942, to Augustus and Zola Elizabeth Smith Parker (deceased).

Personal Information

Member, Christ Episcopal Church, Charlotte.

Educational Background

Garinger High School, Charlotte, 1960; Meredith College, 1960-1962; B.A., UNC-Chapel Hill, 1964; J.D., UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, 1969; Institute of Judicial Administration Appellate Judges Seminar, 1987.

Professional Background

Chief Justice N.C. Supreme Court, February 1, 2006 to present; Associate Justice N.C. Supreme Court, 1993-January 31, 2006 (re-elected, November 5, 1996 and November 2, 2004); Judge N.C. Court of Appeals, 1985-1992 (appointed, December 28, 1984; elected, November 4, 1986; re-elected, November 6, 1990); Attorney in Private Practice, 1969-1984; Volunteer, U.S. Peace Corps, Ankara, Turkey, 1964-1966.

Professional and Community Activities

N.C. Bar Association (Vice President, 1987-88); American Bar Association; Wake County Bar Association; Mecklenburg County Bar (Secretary-Treasurer, 1982-1984; Executive Committee, 1976-1978); N.C. Association of Women Attorneys; National Association of Women Judges; Institute of Judicial Administration; Raleigh Executives Club; Women’s Forum of North Carolina; North Carolina International Women’s Forum; Woman’s Club of Raleigh.

Boards And Commissions

Board of Visitors, UNC-Chapel Hill; N.C. Courts’ Commission; Chief Justice’s designee to Governor’s Crime Commission; Former Member, Advisory Council, N.C. Correctional Center for Women; Former Director, Charlotte YWCA.

Honors And Awards

Gwyneth B. Davis Public Service Award, N.C. Women Attorneys Association; Distinguished Woman of North Carolina Award, 1997; General Federation of Women’s Clubs Woman of Achievement Award, 1997; honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Queens College, 1998; Judge of the Year, N.C. Women Attorneys Association, 2002; Fellow, American Bar Foundation; Distinguished Alumni Award University of North Carolina Law School, 2003; NC Association of Black County Officials Humanitarian Award, 2003.

Political Activities

Past Member, Executive Committee, State Democratic Party; Mecklenburg County Democratic Women’s Club (President, 1973); Charlotte Women’s Political Caucus.

<< Previous Chief Justice - I. Beverly Lake, Jr.

Next Chief Justice - Mark D. Martin >>

© 2015 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved