It’s one thing to have things in common as siblings, another to smash the headlines with the same position.
Two identical twin sisters Shanta Owens and Shera Grant, born four minutes apart, in 2016 smashed the headlines as the first twins to serve on the bench in Alabama.
Shanta who is four minutes older was first sworn in 2008 as district judge. In 2016, Shera took the bench. The Birmingham natives have literally done everything together right from birth; they both have 6 years old girls who were born four months apart. Their sons aged 3 years old were also born four months apart. Their husbands, who they married two months apart in 2003, also have been best friends since kindergarten, it was reported in 2016.
The Birmingham natives graduated from Alabama State University. Both graduated from Law school at Louisiana State University. While Grant went to Atlanta after Law school, Owens came back to Birmingham, both ended up with jobs as prosecutors.
“Ms. Grant is highly qualified, motivated, and prepared to be a district judge,” according to a statement from Jennifer Ardis, communications director for Bentley. “The governor’s office found out about her twin sister during the interview process. Public service seems to be a trait that runs in her family.
Grant, 38, Vestavia Hills, said she was “super excited” to be appointed to the judgeship, which handles small civil cases.
“I’m just overwhelmed, overjoyed. … I think this is a wonderful opportunity to serve the citizens of this county,” she said.
“I’m really elated … I’m excited for her,” said Owens, who is four minutes older than Grant. “We’re grateful to God and grateful to the Governor.”
Owens said she had one piece of advice for her sister — to remain the person their mom raised them to be, respectful of everyone, and work hard.
“I know she’ll (Grant) continue to be that person because that’s how we were raised,” she said.
Their mum who had to singlehandedly raise them after their father passed ensured they grew with the reading culture. Their mom, Loretta Bitten, worked as a librarian at the Birmingham Library since they were 9 years old. Their father had died when they were young.
“We grew up reading,” Owens said.
Grant is currently a deputy Jefferson County Public Defender. She also serves on the Vestavia Hills Board of Education.
“I checked with several of our tenured members, and we are not aware of identical twins sitting simultaneously on Jefferson County’s District or Circuit courts,” said Bo Landrum, executive director of the Birmingham Bar Association. “There is, of course, the husband and wife team of Judges Eugene and Annetta Verin on the Circuit Court in Bessemer, and brothers Tom (Circuit civil) and Alan King (probate judge) serving simultaneously … in Birmingham, but identical twins on the bench at the same time may be a first for Birmingham.”