By: R. Joyclyn Wea
“I do believe that if the Supreme Court can have five male Justices for several decades in the past then, it’s fair enough to have five female justices going forward,” current Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh said, during the iconic opening of the March Term of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
Chief Justice Yuoh wants a full bench of women justices at the level of the honorable Supreme Court to bridge the gaps in limited women’s representation in the legal profession of Liberia that remains male dominated.
Since the establishment of the Supreme Court in 1847, the Bench has been graced by Ninety One (91) Justices, and of this number, only seven (7) women have been appointed and commissioned to serve as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
It is worth noting further, that out of the seven, three were elevated to the pinnacle of the Supreme Court to serve as Chief Justices: Cllr. Frances Johnson-Morris (now Allison) (April-September, 1997), Cllr. Gloria M. Musu Scott (September1997-2003) and now Her Honor, Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh.
With the current data, Justice Yuoh encourages women in the profession to put aside timidity and embrace confidence and strive for excellence and be assertive.
“The foundation of these attributes should be a solid education and knowledge of the law in order to strike a balance or at best, surpass our male counterparts to the extent where all the five Justices will be females and that majority of the Counsellors attending the Supreme Court’s Opening will be female lawyers,” Yuoh indicated.
The Chief Justice vowed she would endeavor not to abuse the confidence placed in her noting, “After having served previously as Associate Justice for almost nine years, I am well aware of the great responsibilities and the heavy burdens the Chief Justice is expected to carry in this developing era of judiciary.”
“I feel highly honored today by this appointment you have placed in my hands the custody of the Constitution; to protect it and to guard it jealously as the principal working tool of this new office”. She furthers, “That great document must hereafter be the yardstick by which to measure the issues of great moment, and the burning contentions which litigants will bring for final adjudication.”