Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the appointment of the Hon. Keith R. Blackwell to the Supreme Court of Georgia, effective upon his swearing in on July 19. Blackwell will fill the vacancy left by outgoing Justice George H. Carley, whose resignation will become effective July 17. This is Deal's first appointment to the Supreme Court.
"The Supreme Court will benefit from Judge Blackwell's experience on both sides of the bench," said Deal. "His intelligence, many years of experience and dedicated commitment to public service will serve Georgians well in his new role on our state's highest court."
"I am grateful to Governor Deal for his confidence in me and for this opportunity to serve the people of Georgia as a justice of the Supreme Court," Blackwell said. "To be appointed as a justice is a humbling experience, but that is especially so when the appointment follows after a jurist as distinguished and respected as Chief Justice George Carley. I also wish to express my gratitude to the chief justice for his many years of fine service to the people of Georgia.
"I have given my word to Governor Deal, and I give my word to the citizens of this state, that every day and in every case, I will adhere to the high standards of impartiality, independence and integrity that Georgians rightfully expect of their judges; that I will faithfully apply the law as it is, not as I might wish it to be; and that I will respect the separation of powers, bearing in mind that the judicial power, though indispensible to our system of government, is a limited one."
Hon. Keith R. Blackwell
Blackwell has served as a judge in the Georgia Court of Appeals since his appointment by former Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2010, bringing with him more than 10 years of litigation and appellate experience. Currently, he is also an adviser to the Business Courts Committee of the State Bar and chair of the Committee on Court Rules at the Court of Appeals. He practiced law as an Associate with Alston & Bird, LLP for three years, representing clients in criminal and regulatory investigations, class action lawsuits and complex commercial litigation. Blackwell then served as an Assistant District Attorney in Cobb County for two years, where he represented the state in hundreds of felony prosecutions involving murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, carjacking, drug trafficking and financial crimes. In 2005, he served as an associate, and then as a partner, with Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP for five years, continuing his previous practice with complex commercial litigation, including contract, real estate, insurance and business-tort cases. He also served as a law clerk for Judge J.L. Edmondson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (1999-2000).
Blackwell has been active in a number of professional and legal policy organizations. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Atlanta Chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, and he previously served as the Chapter president for three years and as a member of its Executive Board. Judge Blackwell is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and its Appellate Practice Section, where he has served on the Committee on State Practice and Legislation. In addition, Judge Blackwell is a member of the Cobb Bar Association and the Atlanta Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He is also a Master of the Joseph Henry Lumpkin American Inn of Court. He previously has served as an adviser to the House Judiciary Committee in hearings on the revision of the state evidence code and as a member of the governor's Judicial Nominating Commission.
Blackwell graduated summa cum laude and first in his class from the University of Georgia's College of Arts and Sciences in 1996 with a degree in Political Science and summa cum laude from the School of Law in 1999, also first in his class. He and his wife, Angela, along with their three daughters, reside in Smyrna.