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Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Kay Cobb dies at 81

Kay Cobb (Photo courtesy of the Mississippi Supreme Court)

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Presiding Justice Kay B. Cobb has passed away at the age of 81.

Cobb, who was appointed by Gov. Kirk Fordice to the Supreme Court in April 1999, was elected to a full term on the state’s highest court in 200. She served for eight years before retiring in May 2007.

“[Cobb] was fearlessly independent. I have always been impressed with her determination and work ethic, exemplified by her entering law school with two young daughters at home,” former Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller, Jr. recounted. “On the court, I don’t think anyone worked harder in the pursuit of the correct result for her cases. Her conduct was always demonstrated moral and character strength and the best interests of the judiciary.”

As Waller pointed out, Cobb enrolled in the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1975 and flew through the program, even with two children to look after. She then practiced law in Oxford until 1982 when she became director of prosecutor programs at the Mississippi Prosecutors College at the law school.

From 1984 to 1988, she served as senior attorney for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics before becoming a special assistant attorney general in the summer of 1988. She also served as state coordinator for the State Wide Education, Enforcement, and Prevention System (SWEEPS) program where she was responsible for community mobilization in drug education and prevention efforts.

In 1992, Cobb – who at this point was recognized across the state as a trailblazer for women in law – announced her campaign for Mississippi Senate. She subsequently won the seat representing District 9 which includes Calhoun, Lafayette, and Yalobusha Counties. She served in that position until 1996.

Funeral arrangements for Cobb, who died at her home in Lenoir City, Tenn. On Friday, have not yet been announced.

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