Tom J. Colbert
Chief Justice Tom Colbert, the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, was born in Oklahoma City. He graduated from Sapulpa High School, earned an associate’s degree from Eastern Oklahoma State College in 1970, and a bachelor of science degree from Kentucky State University in 1973. While at Kentucky State, Justice Colbert was named an All-American in track and field. Justice Colbert served in the United States Army and received an honorable discharge in 1975. He earned a master of education degree from Eastern Kentucky University in 1976 and taught in the public schools in Chicago. Justice Colbert received his juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 1982. He was an Assistant Dean at Marquette University Law School from 1982-1984 and an Assistant District Attorney in Oklahoma County from 1984-1986, before entering private law practice at Miles-LaGrange & Colbert from 1986-1989. Justice Colbert continued his practice under the name Colbert and Associates from 1989-2000. He also served as an attorney for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services from 1988-89 and in 1999. In March of 2000, Justice Colbert became the first African-American appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. He served as Chief Judge of that Court in 2004. On October 7, 2004, Governor Brad Henry appointed Justice Colbert to the Supreme Court of Oklahoma. Justice Colbert is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Oklahoma Bar Association, and the Tulsa County Bar Association. He participates in the Track & Field Masters Level, a mentoring program for young men, and a summer reading program for children, and is a frequent speaker at schools.