August 16, 2013

New state Supreme Court chief justice sworn in

Associated Press

ATLANTA — Georgia Supreme Court Justice Hugh Thompson was sworn in as the high court’s new chief Thursday after he was unanimously elected to the post by his colleagues.

Thompson, who was previously presiding justice of the court, was sworn into his new role by former Gov. Zell Miller, who appointed him to the state Supreme Court in 1994. Chief justices serve a four-year term and also chair the Georgia Judicial Council, which governs all levels of the state’s courts.

“Judge Thompson is someone who will always do what’s right; he won’t legislate through his decisions,” said U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who introduced the new chief justice to a gathering of more than 550 people, according to a news release from the Supreme Court.

Before he was appointed to the Supreme Court, Thompson, who’s from Milledgeville, served as superior court judge in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, which spans eight counties. He was appointed to that position in 1979.  

Also Thursday, Justice P. Harris Hines was sworn in as the state Supreme Court’s new presiding justice. The presiding justice serves in leadership roles when the chief justice is absent. He was also sworn in by Miller, who appointed him to the court in 1995.

In addition to Miller, the ceremony drew Gov. Nathan Deal, former Gov. Roy Barnes, and all six living former chief justices.

“Today I pledge to all of you that as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, I will not waiver in my commitment to lead the judicial branch with fairness and integrity,” Thompson said, according to the court’s release.