Chief Justice tells Girl State delegates to be 'boat rockers'

Posted: Monday, 08 June 2009

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb told Girls State delegates they must be thermostats, not degrees of temperature, today as she spoke to the General Session in Troy University’s Trojan Center.

Urging the girls to be leaders, she said those in attendance already had the qualities of leadership.

“Someone saw that in you, that you had the ability to be a thermostat, not a temperature,” Chief Justice Cobb said. “A real leader does more than expected, does more than what they are paid for, and does the jobs others don’t want to do.”

Delegates to Girls State, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, are rising high school seniors, and are nominated for attendance by their schools and local American Legion Auxiliary posts.

Cobb challenged the delegates to be honest and open in all their dealings, saying leaders today are required to be honest and respected.

“True leaders are boat rockers that tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. It is much more important to be respected than liked,” she said.

A former Girl State participant herself, Chief Justice Cobb was appointed to the bench in 1981 as district judge in Conecuh County, becoming one of the state’s youngest judges. She was elected to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in 1994, where she served until she took office as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama in 2007. She is the only female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama to date.

“I thought her speech was really inspirational because of the doors (she has) opened by being the first female justice,” said Eunji Jo, a rising senior at Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham.

Girls State is being hosted at Troy University through Friday with more than 350 girls participating in the week.

Tiffany Roy is senior print journalism/public relations major from Prattville and is interning in the University Relations Office.
Sue Bell Cobb

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb speaks to the General Session of the Alabama Girls State Monday at Troy University as Girls State Director Lee Sellers listens. (TROY photo/Clif Lusk)