New Georgia Supreme Court chief justice sworn in

Georgia’s highest court has a new chief justice. Michael Boggs, who had been the court’s presiding justice, has been sworn in as chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. .

 Georgia’s highest court has a new chief justice.

Michael Boggs, who had been the court’s presiding justice, was sworn in Monday as chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. He replaces David Nahmias, who announced in February that he was stepping down from the court.

“As chief justice, please know I’m committed to helping our courts in ways that ensure they’re prepared to meet the needs of Georgia’s citizens,” Boggs said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Our judicial system will continue to need resources, even patience from everyone, as we work through the long-term consequences of the pandemic.”

Georgia chief justices are chosen by their colleagues to serve a single four-year term leading the state’s judicial branch. The chief justice speaks for the high court and the rest of the state’s judiciary and presides over oral arguments and deliberation meetings. The chief justice also chairs the Georgia Judicial Council, which makes policy for the judicial branch.

Georgia Supreme Court justices run for six-year terms and can be reelected.

Justice Nels Peterson was sworn in Monday as the court’s presiding justice. Typically, the presiding justice is next in line to be chief justice.

Boggs was appointed to the Supreme Court by then-Gov. Nathan Deal in 2016 and won election to a six-year term in 2018. He previously served on the state Court of Appeals and as a superior court judge in Waycross, where he founded that circuit’s drug court program.

Before taking the bench, Boggs served two terms in the Georgia General Assembly. Deal appointed him to serve as a co-chair of the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council from 2012 to 2018. A graduate of Georgia Southern College and Mercer University School of Law, Boggs also is a member or leader of numerous other organizations having to do with the judicial branch.

Boggs co-chaired the Criminal Justice Reform Council when Deal was governor and has also been a member of Gov. Brian Kemp’s Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, serving as chair of the mental health courts and corrections subcommittee.

In introducing Boggs Monday, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton applauded Boggs’ dedication to criminal justice reform, the Journal-Constitution reported.

“I’m talking about work that has reduced incarceration rates among African-Americans by 25 percent,” Melton said. “I’m talking about work that has brought lives back together and that has restored families, that has changed communities. I’m talking about work that has done all this while reducing recidivism.”