Media release: Presiding Justice David E. Nahmias was unanimously elected by his colleagues today to become the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. He will succeed Chief Justice Harold D. Melton, who will resign from the Court on July 1, 2021 after 16 years of distinguished service as a justice.
The Court also unanimously elected Justice Michael P. Boggs as its next Presiding Justice.
The Chief Justice, who serves one 4-year term, leads Georgia’s judicial branch, as the governor leads the executive branch of government and House and Senate leaders head the legislative branch. The Chief Justice is the spokesperson for the Supreme Court as well as for the entire state judiciary. He presides over the Court’s oral arguments and the meetings at which the Court deliberates about cases, although he has only one vote as does each of the nine justices. The Chief Justice also chairs the Georgia Judicial Council, the policy-making body for the judicial branch that includes the State Bar President and 26 judges who represent the appellate courts and all classes of trial courts in the state. The Presiding Justice serves in the Chief Justice’s absence and is the vice-chair of the Judicial Council.
Presiding Justice Nahmias (pronounced “NAH-mee-iss”) has served on the Supreme Court since his appointment by Governor Sonny Perdue in August 2009, winning statewide elections to six-year terms in 2010 and 2016. Before becoming a Justice, he was a federal prosecutor for almost 15 years, including service as a line prosecutor and as the United States Attorney in Atlanta, where he prosecuted and supervised many high-profile cases. He also served as a senior Justice Department official in Washington, where he oversaw terrorism cases and other matters for three years after the 9/11 attacks. Presiding Justice Nahmias is a graduate of Briarcliff High School in DeKalb County, where he was the state’s STAR Student in 1982; Duke University, where he finished second in his class; and Harvard Law School, where he served on the Law Review with former President Barack Obama and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. He was a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Presiding Justice Nahmias has received numerous local, state, and national awards and honors for his public service, and he has served on several committees and boards that work to improve the legal system and the community. He currently chairs the Supreme Court’s Committee on Justice for Children and is on the Board of Directors of Georgia Appleseed and the Board of Visitors for the College of Law at Georgia State University. Justice Nahmias’s wife, Catherine O’Neil, passed away in 2017. He has two teenage sons.
Justice Michael P. Boggs has served on the Supreme Court since his appointment by Governor Nathan Deal in 2016. He won statewide election to a six-year term in 2018. Previously, Justice Boggs served as a Judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia and as a Superior Court Judge for the Waycross Judicial Circuit, founding and serving as the first presiding judge of the Circuit’s Drug Court Program. Prior to his judicial service, Justice Boggs served in the Georgia General Assembly for two terms. Justice Boggs is a graduate of Georgia Southern College and Mercer University School of Law. He was appointed by Governor Deal to serve as a co-chair of the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council from 2012 to 2018. He currently serves on Governor Kemp’s Judicial Nominating Commission and the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, where he chairs the Mental Health Courts and Corrections Subcommittee. Justice Boggs also serves as Chair of the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center Board of Directors and chairs the 26-member National Steering Committee of Justice Counts, a U.S. Department of Justice/Bureau of Justice Assistance-funded criminal justice data initiative. Justice Boggs is an inaugural member of the Council on Criminal Justice, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of Mercer University, the Board of Visitors at Mercer Law School, and the Board of Directors of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. Justice Boggs and his wife Heather, a kindergarten teacher in Waycross, reside in Blackshear.