Passing of Brother Johnnie N. Lewis, former Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Passing of Brother Johnnie N. Lewis, former Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia

With sorrow we inform all Brethren of the passing of Brother Johnnie N. Lewis, former Chief Justice  of the Republic of Liberia and Past Secretary of Excelsior Lodge #4 A.F. & A.M. Greenville, Sinoe County. 

Johnnie N. Lewis (April 16, 1946 - January 21, 2015) was a Liberian lawyer and politician. A native of Sinoe County, Lewis was educated at the University of Liberia in Monrovia and at Yale Law School in the United States. He was the 18th Chief Justice of Liberia, serving from 2006 to 2012. Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, he served as a judge in Liberia’s circuit court system.

Lewis was born to Roderick N. Lewis and Mary Houston-Lewis in Greenville, Sinoe County, Liberia on April 16, 1946. His father was a lawyer while his mother was a school teacher in a family with four boys and two girls. He earned an education at St. Joseph's Catholic Elementary School followed by Sinoe High School. For college he attended the University of Liberia in Monrovia where he earned a bachelor of arts degree, followed by a bachelor of laws degree from the university’s Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. Graduating in 1969, he earned cum laude honors from the law school and was editor of the Liberian Law Journal. Lewis was admitted to the country’s bar association that year before moving to the United States to continue his legal education. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1971 with a masters in law degree. In 1991 he also assisted with the transitional government as legal adviser to the president of the interim Government.

In 2006, the Liberian Bar Association recommended Lewis be nominated by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to serve as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia. President Johnson-Sirleaf then nominated him in February and he was confirmed by the Liberian Senate on March 2, 2006. Lewis was commissioned as the new Chief Justice on March 3. Upon taking office, he vowed to fight corruption that had plagued the judicial branch in the country. Lewis died in the United States in January 2015, while undergoing medical treatment.


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