Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice stepping down

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice stepping down
Ga. Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton to step down from court this summer. (Alyssa Pointer/AJC)

ATLANTA — Sixteen years to the day after beginning his run as a Georgia Supreme Court Justice, and over a year before his term as Chief Justice ends, Harold Melton will step away from his duties.

Melton, who was appointed chief justice back in August 2018, made the announcement Friday morning to court staff and the Georgia Judicial Council. His last day as a jurist will be July 1.

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“July 31 will mark my 30th year working in state government, 16 years with the Court. This fall, all of our three children will be attending college at the same time. Now is the best time for me to explore opportunities for the next season of life that will allow me to best serve our legal community and my extended family. I do not now know what my next move will be. With this announcement, I can begin the search process in earnest,” Melton said.

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Melton, who is 54 years old, added he does not yet know what he will do next.

Melton thanked his staff, saying they’ve done good work over the years.

“It has not been easy to decide the best time to leave a job with a mission that I believe in and people I love working with,” Chief Justice Melton said to court staff. “We have done great work together for the benefit of the citizens of this great state, and this Court is well-positioned to continue the high calling that has clearly been set before us. I have such a peace and confidence that justice will continue to be served.”

Melton was appointed to the Supreme Court July 1, 2005 by then Governor Sonny Perdue. He took over the role of Chief Justice August 31, 2018.

Governor Brian Kemp will appoint a new judge to the court upon Melton’s departure.

Kemp issued the following statement on the announcement of Melton’s retirement:

“For nearly 30 years, Chief Justice Harold Melton has served the Peach State with honor and integrity, ensuring the highest ideals of justice are upheld in our state for the last 16 of those years. Georgians in every community have benefitted from his steadfast commitment to the rule of law and public service, and I know he will continue to pursue those passions in the days ahead. On behalf of all Georgians, Marty, the girls, and I are grateful for his service on the Georgia Supreme Court and wish him and Kimberly well in this next chapter.”

Auburn student center renamed after Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton