Nahmias sworn in as Georgia’s new chief justice

An emotional David Nahmias was sworn in Thursday to be the new chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

The son of immigrants ― his father from Egypt, his mother from Germany — Nahmias is committed to the rule of law and getting to the truth, former Justice Keith Blackwell said during a warm introduction.

“He has an incredibly strong work ethic,” Blackwell said. “I don’t know anybody who works harder.”

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Nahmias (pronounced NAH-mee-iss) was sworn in by Harold Melton, who resigned from the court as chief justice to join the law firm Troutman Pepper. Melton also swore in Michael Boggs as the court’s presiding justice, which means he’s next in line to become chief. The presiding justice also oversees arguments and meetings in the chief justice’s absence.

Nahmias grew up in DeKalb County and graduated from Briarcliff High School, finishing first in the state as a STAR student. (The PAGE STAR program honors Georgia’s highest-achieving high school seniors and the teachers who were most instrumental in their academic development.)

Nahmias then graduated second in his class from Duke University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University law school. He later clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Antonin Scalia.

Nahmias joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, in Atlanta, in 1995. He would move to Washington after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and serve as deputy assistant attorney general of the criminal division. After two years, Nahmias returned to Atlanta to become U.S. attorney and oversee a number of high-profile prosecutions.

In 2009, then-Gov. Sonny Perdue, who attended Thursday’s ceremony in the state House chambers, appointed Nahmias to the state Supreme Court.

During brief remarks, Nahmias’ voice broke often as he thanked his parents, his two sons, his colleagues, his relatives and his friends in attendance.

Nahmias also spoke of how proud he was of the state’s judiciary for the way it survived the coronavirus pandemic. But he said the tens of thousands of backlogged cases must now make their way through the courts.

“Our judicial system will need resources,” he said.