Georgia's Chief Justice set to retire

Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears will step down from the bench when her term ends in December 2009.

The 53-year-old announced her planned departure early today in a news release sent out by the Georgia Supreme Court.

Governor Zell Miller appointed her in 1992 as the first woman and youngest person ever to serve on the state's highest court. She became Chief Justice in 2005.

Sears said she is looking forward to a new chapter in her life. She vows not to retire but is looking for a new challenge.

“My husband, Haskell, and I have watched our children grow up, I suffered the loss of my older brother, who died at the same age I am now, and professionally I achieved one of my lifelong dreams," Sears said in the release. "I have come to realize that life has different seasons, and it is limited. It is now time for me to face new challenges and set new goals.”