Press Release

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice, Janie Shores, Tells All

Contact: John O’Melveny Woods,
Intellect Publishing, LLC at
Photo of author attached.

April 2016

“In my judgment, the name Janie Ledlow Shores should be inscribed, along with Helen Keller and Julia Strudwick Tutwiler, at the top of the list of Alabama’s Greatest Women.”
Senator Howell Heflin

Janie Shores, the first woman elected to Alabama’s Supreme Court, may be one of the most important people you’ve never heard of, because many of the cases she worked on in the social upheaval of the 1960s and 70s shaped the key debates of today’s divisive politics. Her autobiography, Just Call Me Janie, is a May 1 release of Intellect Publishing, LLC.

Born Janie Ledlow in rural Alabama in the 1930s to parents of limited means, Janie grew up picking potatoes in hot dusty fields and being instilled with a long list of the many things “girls don’t do”. Armed with brains, persistence, cheers from select mentors, and her deep passion for justice, Janie defied the considerable odds and broke all the traditional social molds of her time to become an outstanding inspiration to her law school classmates and ultimately the first woman justice elected to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Her remarkable career spanned some of the most turbulent times in U.S., and particularly Alabama, history. Dedicated to upholding federal laws aimed at protecting minorities, Janie worked for more liberal legal systems while practicing law in Montgomery and Birmingham, hot spots of racial tension — boiling with issues that remain as relevant and controversial today as they were when Janie first began practicing law.

Leaving Selma and her husband to escape being forced into the racist White Citizens Council by her in-laws, Janie moved to Birmingham and fought for equality and justice alongside other liberal lawyers, including her next husband Jim Shores. They all started out without means and unknown, and grew along with her to become icons of the American judicial and social history.

Her colleagues included famous figures both liberal and conservative: Morris Dees. Howell Heflin, George and Lurleen Wallace, Millard Fuller, and many more colorful and unforgettable characters. Janie served on a special judicial committee to decide the legal fate of Judge Roy Moore when he defied federal mandates to remove religious sculpture from his courtroom. Janie tells tales of her varied experiences with perception and wit, allowing the reader to gain insight into the usually private workings of the higher echelons of the American judicial system and perspective into the importance of the decisions that are made there that affect all of our lives.

“This important book – so accessible, conversational, and filled with such an honest sense of place – tells the story of Janie Shores, the first woman Justice on the Alabama Supreme Court. Her life reminds us, at a moment when we need it, of a fundamental truth about our state. There has always been a strain of decency in our politics, overshadowed periodically by darker impulses, but there, nevertheless, in the periodic example of our leaders – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black; our New Deal senators, Lister Hill and John Sparkman; our populist governor, Big Jim Folsom. And now comes the story of Janie Shores, who broke old barriers with dignity and grace, and now in this critical time in our history, helps us remember the best of who we are.”
Frye Gaillard, Author of Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the
Movement that Changed America

“Janie Shores was the bright light the Alabama Supreme Court always needed. Sensitive, warm, hard working and always open to how the law can help those with little power”
Morris Dees, Founder & Chief Trial Attorney,
Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, Alabama