47 nominated to be next Georgia Supreme Court justice

Forty-seven lawyers, judges, prosecutors and state lawmakers have been nominated to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court of Georgia.

The state Judicial Nominating Commission had set a Thursday deadline for nominations for a successor to Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, who is stepping down at the end of the month. Justice Carol Hunstein will be the court's new chief justice, but Gov. Sonny Perdue gets to fill Sears' open seat on the state high court bench.

Among those nominated were Yvette Miller, chief judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals; U.S. Attorney David Nahmias; state lawmakers David Ralston and Bill Hamrick; District Attorneys Pat Head and David McDade and numerous state court judges.

The nominees have until June 22 to decide whether to formally apply for the position. One has already declined his nomination —former state Attorney General Mike Bowers, who chairs the state Judicial Nominating Commission. The commission will conduct 20-minute interviews of each applicant on June 29 and 30. The panel will send a handful of recommendations to Perdue, who will then decide who will be Georgia's next justice.

The nominees are:

Superior Court Judge Lynn Akeley-Alderman of the Enotah Judicial Circuit (Towns and Union counties)

Georgia Inspector General Elizabeth P. Archer

DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Cynthia J. Becker

Bainbridge lawyer Joshua C. Bell

Superior Court Judge Michael P. Boggs of the six-county Waycross Judicial Circuit

Superior Court Judge Phil Brown of the Macon Judicial Circuit (Bibb, Crawford and Peach counties)

Atlanta lawyer Mike Bowers (Declined)

Atlanta lawyer Al Bridges

Cheryl Custer, executive director of the state Judicial Qualifications Commission

Macon lawyer Stephen Louis A. Dillard

C. Wilson DuBose, chairman of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council

Anne Proffitt Dupre, University of Georgia law professor

Dahlonega lawyer Bruce M. Edenfield

Superior Court Judge Christopher C. Edwards of the Griffin Judicial Circuit (Fayette, Pike, Spalding and Upson counties)

Stephen B. Farrow, member of the state transportation board

Augusta lawyer Barry Fleming

Rome lawyer David Guldenschuh

State Sen. Bill Hamrick (R-Carrollton)

Atlanta lawyer Thomas D. Harper

Cobb County District Attorney Pat Head

Garland Hunt, member of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles

Atlanta lawyer James P. Kelly III

Atlanta lawyer John K. Larkins Jr.

Dahlonega lawyer Steven Leibel

Peach County Magistrate Judge Laurens Lee

Troup County State Court Judge Jeannette Little

Assistant Fulton County District Attorney Marc Mallon

Savannah lawyer Zena McClain

Douglas County District Attorney David McDade

Decatur lawyer Christopher J. McFadden

Chief Judge Yvette Miller of the Georgia Court of Appeals

U.S. Attorney David Nahmias

Paulding County Superior Court Judge James Osborne

Superior Court Judge Samuel Ozburn of the Alcovy Judicial Circuit (Newton and Walton counties)

Atlanta lawyer J. Robert Persons

State Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge)

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge William Ray II

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall Sr.

Atlanta lawyer Ken J. Shigley Sr.

Atlanta lawyer George Shingler

Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley

Henry County State Court Judge Ben W. Studdard III

Assistant Gwinnett County District Attorney Dawn Taylor

Atlanta lawyer Rocco Testani

Atlanta lawyer Richard S. Thompson

Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge Peggy Walker

Bibb County Magistrate Judge Erica Woodford