Hon. Elizabeth S. Morris
On October 17, 2018, Elizabeth Sheree Morris became the first African American female appointed by the Maryland governor as an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, in the Fifth Judicial Circuit. She began her tenure as only the third Black judge in the court’s history.
Growing up in an immigrant working-class family from Jamaica, Elizabeth always had dreams of becoming a lawyer. Even when she was quite young, she was always outspoken. A preschool report from the age of four explained Judge Morris tended “to get into other peoples’ affairs and [would] correct people, even adults.” Raised in a single-parent household by her mother in a town outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the value of hard work was instilled by her mom who worked
multiple jobs to put her in a private Catholic School in the area. As a result of an image she saw on a television series, The Huxtables, Elizabeth always wanted to be an attorney.
She received a B.A. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in 1999 and her Law Degree from University of Maryland Law School in 2002 and went on to serve four years as legal counsel at the National Security Agency. Judge Morris remarked, “The agency prepared me well because it was a very fast-paced environment where I dealt with a lot of different issues and . . . a diverse population.
Morris served seven years in the Attorney General’s Office “splitting her time between the office’s contract litigation division and with the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for compensation and work-related cases: “[T]he Office of General Counsel [. . .] prepared me because our responsibility is to give advice, so the agency follows the law.
She spent eight years as an Assistant Attorney General and was appointed by Governor Larry Hogan to be the first female Black associate judge of the Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County. Governor Hogan referred to Judge Morris as a “terrifically talented woman.”
Judge Morris has lived in Anne Arundel County since 2007, and has two children, a son, and a daughter. She believes that race does not matter when it comes to the county’s judiciary: “The bench should be representative of the community . . . it instills public confidence in the judiciary that matters will be heard fairly and impartially.”
Overall, Judge Morris sees herself as a person who can “open doors for young girls who will one day follow in her footsteps.”