New Chief Justice, Presiding Justice Sworn-in to lead Supreme Court

A standing-room only crowd filled the House Chambers on August 15, 2013, to see the investiture of Georgia’s new Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson and Presiding Justice P. Harris Hines.
Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein welcomed the assembly of Justices of the Supreme Court, members of the Courts of Appeals, trial court judges throughout the state, legislators, friends, and family. 
Father Stephen Hall, St. James Episcopal Church in Clayton, GA, gave the invocation.  A letter from President Jimmy Carter was read congratulating Justice Thompson on his elevation as Chief Justice.  As Governor, Carter appointed Justice Thompson to the State Court of Baldwin County in 1971.

Presiding Justice

Justice P. Harris Hines was introduced by Mr. Sam Olens, Attorney General of Georgia. Mr. Olens described Justice Hines as, “a straight shooter who does not dodge difficult or controversial cases and an advocate of education, the law, the judiciary, and family.”  The oath of office was administered by former Governor Zell Miller.    In his remarks, Presiding Justice Hines reminisced about Coach Erk Russell, his Grady High School baseball coach, who said to him, “They say it’s best to be relaxed when you’re playing, but I always thought I did better when I was bearing down.”  These are words that have stayed with Presiding Justice Hines, especially as he practiced law and progressed through his judicial career.
Presiding Justice Hines was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia on July 26, 1995, by Gov. Zell Miller. Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Hines served on the superior court and state court benches in Cobb County.
Chief Justice
Mr. David E. Hudson, Hull Barrett PC, introduced Justice Hugh P. Thompson saying, “It is hard to come to grips with the magnitude of judicial business that Justice Thompson has handled in his career.”   Justice Thompson puts his duty first, making sure the work of the court is accomplished efficiently and that each party is afforded the same rights and protections under the law without regard to what they have or the status they hold. “Every citizen of this state who finds themselves involved before the courts of Georgia are fortunate that Hugh Thompson will take the helm of our judicial system as the state’s new chief justice.”

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-GA, congratulated Justice Thompson on his new role.  “Justice Thompson will do what is right,” he said.  Former Governor Zell Miller administered the oath of office.  
In his remarks, the new chief justice promised to uphold the values and goals of our forefathers, continue to work hard to maintain fair and impartial courts, dispense equal justice to everyone, and treat all who enter our courts with dignity and respect.  “I plan to build on the strength of the Supreme Court and reap the good counsel and example of the all those great chief justices who have come before me and who have helped paved the way.”

Among the dignitaries present for the event were all six of the living former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court: Senior Judge Willis Hunt, Justice Robert Benham, Norman S. Fletcher, Leah Ward Sears, George H. Carley, and Chief Justice Hunstein.  Other former justices attending were Conley Ingram and Hardy Gregory.  Past and present governors at the ceremony included Gov. Nathan Deal, former Gov. Zell Miller and former Gov. Roy Barnes.  Also in attendance were Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Speaker of the House, Mr. David Ralston.


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