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Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 1:24pm

Georgia's New Top Judge

Updated: 2 years ago.
Justice George Carley is scheduled to retire from the State Supreme Court in seven weeks. He says he was shocked when Chief Justice Carol Hunstein decided to step aside to allow him to serve in the top job.

The State Supreme Court has a new Chief Justice. George Carley was sworn in Tuesday in front of a packed courtroom that included six former Chief Justices.

Justice George Carley is scheduled to retire from the State Supreme Court in seven weeks. He says he was shocked when Chief Justice Carol Hunstein decided to step aside to allow him to serve in the top job.

“And she suddenly turned around and said I have decided that you should serve as Chief Justice. I said you don’t have to do that. She says I know, but I want to. I will forever be grateful to that,” said newly sworn in Chief Justice Carley.

Members of the High Court choose the Chief Justice and Hunstein’s proposal was approved unanimously.

When Carley retires, Justice Hunstein will resume her role as Chief Justice.

The move won’t cost taxpayers a cent. Hunstein says she wanted to honor Carley’s long service and his commitment to maintaining the integrity of the court.

The move is not unprecedented. In 1992, Chief Justice Harold Clarke stood aside to allow Justice Charles Weltner to serve. Weltner had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.