Justice Marilyn Kite Honored as Jubilee Days Parade Grand Marshal
LARAMIE -- The Laramie Jubilee Days parade on Saturday morning will feature a unique, well-respected, and accomplished Wyoming woman as the 2019 Grand Marshal.
The Honorable Marilyn S. Kite was born, raised, and educated in Laramie. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs from the University of Wyoming in 1970 with honors, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wyoming Law School in 1974.
Before being appointed to the Wyoming Supreme Court, Justice Kite served as Senior Assistant Attorney General for the State of Wyoming from 1974 through 1978. She joined the private law firm of Holland and Hart in 1979, where she was a partner in the Jackson and Cheyenne offices until her appointment to the Wyoming Supreme Court. While in private practice, Justice Kite developed a wide range of experience in commercial law, natural resource law, and other complex litigation.
Justice Kite was Wyoming’s first female Supreme Court Justice, appointed to the Court in 2000 by Governor Jim Geringer. She was retained by election in 2002 and 2010 and served as Wyoming’s first Chief Justice from 2010 to 2014.
Kite said serving on the Wyoming Supreme Court was one of her most satisfying professional accomplishments.
“I had an enjoyable and successful law practice. There were a lot of moments in time throughout those years that I was very proud of. But I was lucky enough to be available at the time, an opening happened, and there’s kind of a little bit of chance that goes into that process. Being able to serve for the 15 years that I did on the Court is probably the peak of my professional career.”
“Personally, I’ve been a lucky woman. But certainly, having my family, my husband, Skip Jacobson, and our son, Gus Jacobson, a young man now coming into his own. Those are the things that are real successes in life.”
The theme of the parade celebrates 150 years of women’s suffrage. Being chosen as Grand Marshal this year means a lot to Justice Kite.
“It really was a thrill to be chosen. It just happened that my older brother was going through some old pictures and found one of me and two of my good friends who, if they’re listening, Donna and Linda, on our horses, getting ready for the parade in our little white shirts and our red scarves around our necks. I think I was about 10. That was the last time I rode in the Jubilee Days parade. I was powered by a horse as opposed to a car!
“But Laramie has always been home, and Jubilee Days has been part of my childhood and adulthood. It was a real thrill to be selected, and it will be fun.”
Prior to joining the Wyoming Supreme Court, Justice Kite served on the faculty of the Western Trial Advocacy Institute, University of Wyoming, and the Denver Regional National Institute of Trial Advocacy. She has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, the Wyoming Judicial Nominating Commission, and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Advisory Board.
While on the bench, she served on numerous boards, including the Board of Judicial Policy and Administration, the University of Wyoming College of Law Advisory Board, and the Access to Justice Commission.
As Chief Justice, she successfully advocated for improvements to court security, expansion of civics education, and promotion of women interested in the law.
Justice Kite is an accomplished horsewoman and was one of the "founding mothers" of the first women's antelope hunt in the country to benefit the Wyoming Women's Foundation.
Justice Kite has some wonderful words of wisdom for any young woman – or young man – growing up in today’s hectic, competitive world.
“Be ready for opportunities. Have yourself prepared for opportunities, because you can’t really create them. A lot of luck goes into life, and if you’re prepared and have your area of study, whatever it may be, I think we can safely say that your opportunities are simply not limited by your sex. There still are subtle things that happen in a society where you might have to work a little harder, find the right niche. But anything is possible. That’s really how I felt all those years ago. My family gave me that sense. Again, things were changing rapidly when I went to law school. Opportunities were everywhere. The thing that holds today, whether it’s the legal profession or any other profession you want to go into, is to get your education and be prepared for the opportunities that come your way.”
She never took her success for granted, nor has she forgotten the history behind the 150 years of Wyoming Women’s Suffrage.
“I’ve been doing some thinking about the women’s suffrage celebrations that we’re having, and it is interesting when you go back and look at the Wyoming Constitution that, not only is there a section that talks about the right to vote, not be distinguished based on color, race, sex – but the Constitution itself talks in terms of ‘persons,’ and all ‘humans,’ all members of the human race being created equal. I think we can be very proud of the people that were the founders of this state and established that Constitution, for their foresightedness. There’s a lot of theories about why they did it, but the fact of the matter is, they did. It took courage to do it 150 years ago, and the rest of us have benefitted as a result.”