Dax Lopez, seen as a strong contender for one of the openings, said Thursday that he's "humbled" to have been nominated but that he wants to instead focus on his role as a DeKalb State Court judge.
Lopez - who is Jewish, Republican and Hispanic - was President Barack Obama's nominee for a U.S. District judgeship last year. His nomination was scuttled by U.S. Sen. David Perdue after anti-illegal immigration forces in Georgia pointed to Lopez’ past association with certain Latino groups.
Lopez was among 130 attorneys nominated for the open spots – two created by legislation that boosts the court from seven justices to nine and a third left open by Chief Justice Hugh Thompson’s decision to retire in January. Several other possible contenders have also dropped out of the running, including Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Dillard.
With the three new openings, Gov. Nathan Deal has the chance to appoint a majority of the court’s bench before he leaves office in January 2019. He has already made one appointment – Keith Blackwell was tapped in June 2012 – and Presiding Justice Harris Hines also said he plans to retire before Deal’s tenure is up.
Here's Lopez's full statement:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.