In an article published on, Georgia Chief Justice
Leah Ward Sears is suggesting that, since
the anti-smoking movement
helped snuff out rising tobacco use rates, a similar campaign is needed to reverse an uptick
in divorces.Sears, who is stepping down from the court on June
30, told an audience Thursday in Athens she will spend a "substantial
amount" of time after leaving the court working to reinvigorate
marriages and discourage divorce and family abandonment.Some 43 percent of all marriages end in divorce within 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

who is divorced, pointed to statistics that showed children of divorced
couples face increased risks of poverty, child abuse, emotional
distress and mental illness.She noted that in Georgia, more than 60 percent of
all civil cases heard at the trial court level involve issues
concerning children and families — more than all criminal cases
combined."As a mechanism for signaling to young people the right
time and the right person with whom to have a baby, marriage has no
peer," she said in prepared remarks. "Marriage is also the best child
welfare, crime prevention and anti-poverty program we have. We must,
therefore, protect it."

Sears, who has served on the Georgia
Supreme Court since 1992, has made preserving marriage one of the
centerpieces of her tenure as the court's chief justice.The
court established a first-of-its-kind commission that gathered experts
to find ways to reduce unnecessary divorce rates and launched a
campaign to publicize the toll a divorce takes on a family.Sears
has not yet announced where she will work when she steps down. She has
said she will seek jobs in the private sector, perhaps as a university
president or at a civil rights law firm.She has also been
mentioned as a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee, and she has not
ruled out an eventual return to public service. Whatever she does, she
said she will work to encourage lasting marriage in all sectors of
society."It's for us to muster the determination and effort
needed to save our children and ultimately our country from
self-destruction," she said. "The alternative is to accept as
inevitable that some of our children will enjoy a privilege that others
are denied."