Meet The Supremes: Who Are Georgia’s Supreme Court Justices?

May 29, 2024
3 mins read

The Supreme Court of Georgia plays a crucial role in the state’s judicial system, ensuring justice and interpreting laws that impact the lives of all Georgians. The court consists of nine justices, each bringing a wealth of experience and legal acumen.

Unlike the United States Supreme Court, the Justices who serve on Georgia’s supreme court have not been sitting on the bench for years on end. The longest-serving justices in Georgia have served the court since 2016. Compare that to Clarence Thomas, the longest serving justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, who has served for 32 years.

Here is a closer look at the distinguished members of Georgia’s highest court.

Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs

Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia by Governor Nathan Deal in 2016. Raised in Waycross, Georgia, Boggs has a distinguished career in both law and public service. He served as a Judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia and as a Superior Court Judge in the Waycross Judicial Circuit. Before his judicial appointments, Boggs was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives where he earned accolades for his legislative work. His contributions to criminal justice reform and his leadership in judicial administration have been widely recognized. Chief Justice Boggs is also involved in numerous judicial and community organizations, underscoring his commitment to public service and the legal profession.

Presiding Justice Nels S.D. Peterson

Presiding Justice Nels S.D. Peterson joined the Georgia Supreme Court in 2016. He has a strong background in both public and private legal practice. Before his appointment, Peterson served as the Solicitor General of Georgia, providing legal advice to the Governor and other state officials. His legal career includes significant roles in the Attorney General’s office and private practice. Peterson’s work focuses on constitutional law and public policy, and he has been involved in numerous high-profile cases throughout his career.

Justice Sarah Hawkins Warren

Justice Sarah Hawkins Warren was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2018. Prior to joining the bench, she served as the Solicitor General of Georgia, arguing cases before both state and federal courts. Warren’s legal experience also includes clerking for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and practicing law in the private sector. Her judicial philosophy emphasizes strict adherence to the text of the law and the Constitution.

Justice Charles J. Bethel

Appointed to the Supreme Court in 2018, Justice Charles J. Bethel has a diverse legal and legislative background. He previously served on the Georgia Court of Appeals and was a State Senator for Georgia. During his tenure in the legislature, Bethel was known for his work on economic development and education reform. His judicial approach is characterized by a commitment to fairness and a deep understanding of state law.

Justice John J. Ellington

Justice John J. Ellington was elected to the Georgia Supreme Court in 2018 after serving nearly two decades on the Georgia Court of Appeals. His legal career began as a prosecutor and then as a trial lawyer. Ellington’s extensive experience in both trial and appellate courts provides him with a comprehensive understanding of the legal system. He is noted for his fairness, integrity, and dedication to the rule of law.

Justice Carla Wong McMillian

Justice Carla Wong McMillian, appointed in 2020, is the first Asian American woman to serve on the Georgia Supreme Court. Her career includes serving on the Georgia Court of Appeals and as a State Court Judge. McMillian has a background in civil litigation and corporate law, and she is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. Her judicial philosophy centers on upholding the Constitution and ensuring equal justice under the law.

Justice Shawn Ellen LaGrua

Justice Shawn Ellen LaGrua was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2020. Before her appointment, she served as a Superior Court Judge in Fulton County, where she presided over complex criminal cases and initiated several innovative court programs. LaGrua’s career also includes work as a prosecutor and legal educator. Her efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial system have earned her widespread respect.

Justice Verda M. Colvin

Appointed in 2021, Justice Verda M. Colvin is known for her passionate advocacy and commitment to justice. She previously served on the Georgia Court of Appeals and as a Superior Court Judge in the Macon Judicial Circuit. Colvin’s judicial career is marked by her focus on community outreach and mentorship, particularly in supporting young people and aspiring legal professionals.

Justice Andrew A. Pinson

Justice Andrew A. Pinson joined the Georgia Supreme Court in 2022. He brings a robust background in appellate practice and constitutional law. Prior to his appointment, he served as the Solicitor General of Georgia, where he represented the state in complex legal matters. Pinson’s approach to the law is grounded in a commitment to principled and impartial judicial decision-making.

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