Did Leah Sears polish her Wikipedia entry?

Updated at 1:08 p.m.

For the second time in two years, the name of Leah Ward Sears surfaced Monday on a White House short list for the U.S. Supreme Court. This time to replace Justice John Paul Stevens.

Fortunately, things are easier the second time around. Some things are already done.

Last year, while under consideration to fill the vacancy created by David Souter’s departure, Sears may have spent a little time on the Internet, polishing up her Wikipedia bio, according to Gawker.com.

From the Web site:

On May 6th, a user named LWsears1992 edited Leah Ward Sears’ Wikipedia page, adding the clause “Based in large part on her highly regarded record” to a passage about how she defeated an opponent in the 2004 race for Georgia Supreme Court. (Georgia is one of eight states that have the sort of weird policy of electing Supreme Court justices.)

Of course, this could just be a huge fan of Leah Ward Sears who has devoted their Wikipedia career to improving her page. But it is suspicious that LWSears1992 claims ownership of the image of Leah Ward Sears. Other edits to Sears’ page by LWsears1992 included adding that she was the “first”—not simply the “only”—”African-American female chief justice in the United States.” And clarifying that she was resigning from the Supreme Court “when her term as Chief Justice ends.” (As opposed to, you know, some sort of crazy scandal.)

This afternoon, William Beutler, who maintains The Wikipedian — a blog that explains the self-editing repository, examined each and every change that LWSears1992 made, and came to this conclusion:

My answer regarding Leah Ward Sears is that, she made the article better, but not much. She did not go about it the right way, but the right way is non-obvious to most, and the burden is on Wikipedia to make its rules understood by outsiders. While some of her edits were self-serving, they were of a mild sort.

At most this was a venal sin, not a cardinal one. Gawker is turning this into a “gotcha” story on the implied theory that interacting with one’s own Wikipedia article is never acceptable. This is a myth, one widely believed and one propagated by many at Wikipedia simply to keep people from meddling with their pages en masse. This is understandable, but it won’t work out in the long term.

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95 comments Add your comment

Urban Republican

April 13th, 2010
8:25 am

I am so excited about the possibility of two of Georgia’s own on the Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas & Leah Sears. I hope all of Georgia will get behind Justice Sears for the Supreme Court.

Bob_moved_to_fla_no_liquor_on_Sunday

April 13th, 2010
8:29 am

This woman is incompetent, and should not be considered

Jeff W

April 13th, 2010
8:30 am

And, let’s not forget something the news media NEVER mentions: she was law partner (and “close personal friends” as once described in the AJC) with that bastion of integrity in the Atlanta legal community, FRED TOKARS. In fact, when the story of Mr Tokars’ family’s murder broke, the picture on the front page was of Tokars in the arms of Ms Sears, who had “rushed to the aid of her dear friend”. Now, if you work closely with a scoundrel like Tokars for many years, you are either a scoundrel yourself, or a complete fool!

Morrus

April 13th, 2010
8:35 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

danno

April 13th, 2010
8:37 am

From her court decisions she seems like she is a liberal, racist type person that I do not agree with.

sugarapple

April 13th, 2010
8:38 am

JeffW It is people like u who have the great USA going down the toilet with your constant hating. god said love your neighbor as yourself

sugarapple

April 13th, 2010
8:42 am

danno

The same message for JeffW is for u also. Please face the facts AMERICA is a melting pot of all races and it will continue in the years to come. All u haters will be either going on to meet the God or to meet the Satan

Big Mac

April 13th, 2010
8:44 am

the tokars connection, if true, is relevant and certainly needs to be vetted prior to her consideration.

Will

April 13th, 2010
8:46 am

sugarapple- How is that a racist comment? Gimme a break. ANYTHING said against a black person is racist??

Tyrone

April 13th, 2010
8:48 am

right, we need another left winger on the court

tokars connection may sink her

All I'm Saying Is...

April 13th, 2010
8:56 am

Fred Tokars fooled a lot of people (including persons who should have known him best — his loved ones).

Only an ignorant fool would try to suggest that Leah Sears should not sit on the US Supreme Court for not knowing the truth about a work colleague.

I don’t for a minute pretend to know any of the people I work with as we all put on our best appearances and leave our personal issues at home in the name of professionalism.

If you examine her record — instead of assuming you know her legal positions due to her race and gender — you will find that she, like the Georgia Supreme Court she was a part of and led, is far from left wing or liberal.

A Different Opinion

April 13th, 2010
8:58 am

The White House Chicago Style Mafia Thugs Political force will make sure there is not enough opposition to this appointee to spoil the day. This is just another in the line of Obamanations that is leading us into socialism

Rob

April 13th, 2010
9:04 am

I am not proud of Thomas or Sears. Their integrity & ethics have often been questioned.

Cheryl

April 13th, 2010
9:07 am

Is there a reason for your post? Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, and you have the ability to go in and correct things that may be inaccurate on your biography if written by someone else. Given our proclivity as Americans to take every little sentence and pound it into a scandal, real or perceived, I don’t blame her for fixing that sentence to avoid that unnecessary foolishness, yet, here you are writing about that even! So, what’s the big story here? Are you attempting to drum up some controversy around her name? If so, this is really pushing it. Why can’t we just be proud to have another judge from the GA Supreme Court nominated to the Nation’s Highest Court. It should be an honor, not something to tear someone down over. Everything isn’t reality TV!

CJJScout

April 13th, 2010
9:08 am

She is awful and would be horrible for the country.

Pat

April 13th, 2010
9:10 am

I too would like to see Justice Sears receive strong consideration. Her politics and mine are probably widely divergent but I think that she is a person of integrity and I admire her stands on a number of issues. I do know that she is left of center but I do not see her as a radical. Remember you are not going to get a Roberts or Thomas from this president. Two Georgians even if they are philosophically apart would be nice to see.

Pat

April 13th, 2010
9:10 am

I too would like to see Justice Sears receive strong consideration. Her politics and mine are probably widely divergent but I think that she is a person of integrity and I admire her stands on a number of issues. I do know that she is left of center but I do not see her as a radical. Remember you are not going to get a Roberts or Thomas from this president. Two Georgians even if they are philosophically apart would be nice to see.

Chip Shoulder

April 13th, 2010
9:12 am

Zell Miller appointed her. I’ll be he’s rolling in his grave over this.

Big Ben

April 13th, 2010
9:17 am

Good point Rob, anyone whose integrity & ethics have been questioned is surely a fiend. Now I quetion your integrity & ethics. Now you are a fiend.

Tokars Posse

April 13th, 2010
9:19 am

There is an entire group of Tokars sucking the life out of Cobb, Fulton, Paulding, Clayton counties and more importantly their Board of Education, to name a few. The City of Atlanta’s new mayor is part of this posse. The attorney representing most of the BOE’s is a past member. The guy AJC quotes, Towery, is one of the cowboys. And don’t forget Barnes. Moultrie and Campbell have served their time and are out of jail now.

Rod

April 13th, 2010
9:24 am

Chip Zell is not dead.

Rod

April 13th, 2010
9:26 am

The Republicans should love her since Zell appointed her to the bench

SP

April 13th, 2010
9:27 am

Chip Shoulder…this for you…

Did Zell Miller die? Your comment of him “rolling in his grave” is rather absurd since the man is still very much alive. Sometimes he’s a Democrat and sometimes he’s a Republican…not sure what he is today…but I don’t think he is anywhere in a “grave”.

Rod

April 13th, 2010
9:27 am

Interesting how these ? headlines make it to the paper. News Flash is Jim fat?

Pamela

April 13th, 2010
9:28 am

Hopefully and prayerfully the Honerable Leah Sears will be picked for the U.S. Supreme Court. The other African-American that is on there is a darn joke! Clarence Thomas did absolutely nothing for African-American people!!!! I wish her the best! BTW this article was STUPID to say the least!!! :)

Mike

April 13th, 2010
9:30 am

Regardless of Leah Ward Sears’ qualifications for the Supreme Court, why is her touching up her Wikipedia page news? It can be updated by anyone, so if she’s not adding false statements, why shouldn’t she be allowed to tweak it to make it better?

BIG Nick

April 13th, 2010
9:30 am

Isn’t that just like a black democrat…To rewrite her history on her on terms…How convenient! What a phony!

Webb from WEESeeYou.com

April 13th, 2010
9:34 am

LoL, Zell is alive. Justice Leah Ward Sears is the ideal choice for the High Court.

Be sure to check out our post (featuring thorough evidence) on why President Obama should consider her. Just click the link, “For Your Consideration Mr. President: Leah Ward Sears for the U.S. Supreme Court” on our frontpage at WEESeeYou.com.

Have a Great Day!

Dave

April 13th, 2010
9:34 am

Chip Shoulder…..uh, I hate to tell you, but Zell ain’t dead.

Daniel Burse

April 13th, 2010
9:37 am

Shouldn’t SHE be THE PERSON that updates HER BIO on Wikipedia?

Lexi

April 13th, 2010
9:37 am

The Supreme Court of the United States is not supposed to dole out benefits to any group of people, including blacks. It is there to interpret, not make, federal law.

It also seems school child silly to get excited about a candidate simply because the prospect is from Georgia (as is Tokars), especially where, as here, she is a horrid, very radical leftist jurist who cares nothing for precedent with which she disagrees. She would bring nothing but a demographic to the SCOTUS.

God help us all.

Dave

April 13th, 2010
9:38 am

Uh…Pamela…LW Sears claims a very close friendship with Thomas and has referred to Thomas a role model…check the AJC archives if don’t believe it.

RGB

April 13th, 2010
9:38 am

Insightful comment, Pamela, because as everyone knows–the purpose of a black supreme court justice is to do good things for black people.

That “content of one’s character” business is so old fashioned and passe’. I’m glad we’re done with that!!!!

Anthony

April 13th, 2010
9:41 am

I think it’d be a terrific honor to have her as a Supreme Court judge. Her heritage in the Georgia judicial system is well known.

george

April 13th, 2010
9:42 am

The race card already? Hahaha!!!!!

LRM216

April 13th, 2010
9:44 am

I agree with Jeff W and Big Mac 100%. The Tokars connection is a tremendous detriment and one that should be carefully dissected.

Cecil Phudpucker

April 13th, 2010
9:50 am

Would she work to secure a pardon for convicted wife-killer Fred Tokars? The tv footage sure looked like she loved him a lot! anyone who cares enough to gild her wikipedia profile must have think skin and a titantic ego.

n

April 13th, 2010
9:52 am

Don’t dismiss Sears because of her relationship to Fred Tokars. Tokars was the consummate psychopath (and politician.) He managed to fool just about everyone he ever encountered.. He was also an Assistant DA, appointed by Lewis Slaton, Fulton DA for decades, who was not easily fooled.

Southern White Man

April 13th, 2010
9:53 am

Why should it matter if a SCOTUS justice is from Georgia or any other state? Does she know and support the U.S. Constitution? Does she support States rights or is she an Obamanite that will suppress our individual rights and Christian Heritage? Will she dilute our proud country to support Obama’s one world economy and justice system?
We need a true proud AMERICAN that does not apologize for being an AMERICAN?

GA Girl

April 13th, 2010
9:56 am

Leah Sears- Great consideration, but some people have concerns about her inability to interpret federal law. I’m sure she would do well.

T.P.

April 13th, 2010
9:57 am

I keep reading comments that says her integrity is questionable or that she is racist? Can anyone give me one example? Any example of how she is a racist? or how her actions on the BENCH have made you question her integrity?

I think Sears would be an excellent choice for the bench. I base this opinion off what I’ve read about her and the opinions she has authored.

Clarence

April 13th, 2010
9:59 am

Pamela – Clearance’s job is to uphold the Constituiton of the United States above everything else. Even if on a personal level he would like to help African Americans, he is doing his job but not letting that personal goal clouds his judicial decision making.

David Poythress for Governor

April 13th, 2010
10:07 am

While I don’t know anything about Justice Sears and cannot comment on her competency, I see nothing wrong with her changing her Wikipedia page so long as she doesn’t alter it in a way to make it a lie.

If someone were to make a page about me, I would alter it as well. Don’t we all attempt to make the wording of our resume’ sound as flattering as possible.

White Male Attorney

April 13th, 2010
10:09 am

Leah Sears appears to me to base her rulings on the law. She is highly intelligent and well respected in the legal community. I hope our country is lucky enough to have her on the Supreme Court.

Romans 5:8

April 13th, 2010
10:10 am

Mr. Galloway, this article is far from political. Please, name one person, politician or otherwise that does not know, or has not known someone who took a wrong turn legally. Give me a break!

jenny

April 13th, 2010
10:12 am

No one has said why former justice/ attorney Leah Ward Sears left the ga. supreme court, she never said why before her term ended. It is clear she is either corrupt or she is connected to the GEORGIA POSSE especially cobb county and fulton county .Just take a look at this website it has never been challenged by any of these key players. http//www.justiceforwandaspann.com

Babyboomer

April 13th, 2010
10:17 am

Lexi. What the supreme court should do and what it does don’t always happen.

Steve0

April 13th, 2010
10:22 am

ZOMG someone modified their wiki page!

That’s what you’re supposed to do.

kreedham

April 13th, 2010
10:22 am

She will be and is being considered. With Bader-Ginsburg probably retiring next the President may go ahead and appoint a woman, and possibly a black woman next! Not that it’s a big deal, cause it’s not but it’s interesting that 5 of the judges are Catholic!

The court already swings 5-4 on most issues toward the conservative line. Republican’s should be happy. He’ll appoint someone left of center but not likely one as left as Stephens. Republican’s only need to worry if one of the 5 retires!

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

April 13th, 2010
10:33 am

Mr. Galloway, it would have been helpful if you had included some information as to why this would warrant a raised eyebrow. Not everyone knows the editing policies of Wikipedia and that an individual is strongly discouraged from editing an article about herself/himself. Several people have posted here that Sears is the natural person to edit a Wikipedia entry about herself; that, however, is not in keeping with either the guidelines or the spirit of Wikipedia.

After all, if one thinks about the wiki as an encyclopedia… the Encyclopedia Brittanica does not allow individuals to write their own entries–and for good, obvious reasons.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons#Dealing_with_edits_by_the_subject_of_the_article)