Nahmias to become Georgia’s next chief justice

David Nahmias will succeed Harold Melton as the Georgia Supreme Court's next chief justice on July 1. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

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David Nahmias will succeed Harold Melton as the Georgia Supreme Court's next chief justice on July 1. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

David Nahmias will succeed Harold Melton as the Georgia Supreme Court’s next chief justice on July 1, the court said Thursday.

Nahmias was unanimously elected to the position by his colleagues on the court. The outcome was expected because, by tradition, the next longest-serving justice — Nahmias, in this case — becomes the new chief justice.

Last month, Melton announced he will step down from the court on July 1, saying he did not know yet what he would do next. Melton, who has overseen the judiciary’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, will have served 16 years on the court.

Nahmias (pronounced “NAH-mee-iss”) is the former U.S. attorney in Atlanta and once served as a Justice Department attorney overseeing terrorism cases after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 2009 by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue.

At oral arguments, Nahmias is routinely well prepared and an aggressive inquisitor. He currently chairs the high court’s Committee on Justice for Children.

The justices also voted Michael Boggs, the longest-serving justice after Nahmias, to be the next presiding justice. Boggs, a former state lawmaker, headed former Gov. Nathan Deal’s groundbreaking criminal justice reform initiatives.