Presiding Justice Harold D. Melton has been unanimously elected as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, succeeding Chief Justice P. Harris Hines, who plans to retire Aug. 31, 2018.
The Court has also unanimously elected Justice David E. Nahmias to become the new Presiding Justice.
The state’s Chief Justice presides over Georgia’s judicial branch, as the governor leads the executive branch of government and as House and Senate leaders head the legislative branch. The Presiding Justice serves in the Chief Justice’s absence. The Chief Justice is the spokesperson for the Court, as well as for the entire judiciary. He presides over oral arguments and runs the meetings in which the Court deliberates about cases, although he has only one vote as does each Justice. The Chief Justice, who serves one 4-year term, also chairs the Georgia Judicial Council, the policy-making body for the judicial branch that is made up of the State Bar President and 26 judges who represent the appellate courts and all classes of trial courts in the state.
Presiding Justice Melton was appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue in July 2005. Prior to his appointment to the state’s highest court, Presiding Justice Melton served as Gov. Perdue’s Executive Counsel, representing the governor on a host of legal issues. Before that, he worked 11 years in the Georgia Department of Law under two Attorneys General, dealing with issues ranging from the creation of the Georgia Lottery Corporation to the administration of Georgia’s tobacco settlement. A native of Washington, D.C., Presiding Justice Melton received a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University where he was the first African-American president of the student government. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia. He serves on the Board of Atlanta Youth Academies and is on the local and national board for Young Life youth ministry.
Justice Nahmias was appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court by Gov. Sonny Perdue in August 2009. Prior to his appointment, he served as United States Attorney in Atlanta for five years. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Justice Nahmias served as a senior Justice Department official in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw terrorism cases. A native of Atlanta, Justice Nahmias graduated summa cum laude from Duke University and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Both justices will be sworn into their new positions in a ceremony at the State Capitol in House chambers on Sept. 4, 2018.