Justice Hugh Thompson will be the Georgia Supreme Court’s next chief justice beginning Aug. 15, the court announced Thursday.
Thompson was elected chief by a unanimous vote of his colleagues on the bench, although by tradition the position is given to justices based on their seniority.
Thompson will succeed Chief Justice Carol Hunstein and serve a four-year term presiding over the court’s arguments and running the meetings in which the court makes its decisions. The court’s chief justice also chairs the Georgia Judicial Council, which governs all levels of the state’s courts.
Thompson was the chief Superior Court judge of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit in Milledgeville when appointed to the high court bench in March 1994 by Gov. Zell Miller.
Just four months later, Thompson had to run for election and drew two challengers. He didn’t find out until the day after the election that he had won a majority of the votes, avoiding a runoff. He has been reelected to the court ever since.
Thompson, who obtained his law degree from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law, previously served as president of the state’s Council of Superior Court Judges.
Thompson will be succeeded as the court’s presiding justice by Justice Harris Hines, a former Cobb County Superior Court judge.