Judge McGarity to retire; nominees under consideration

Flint Circuit Judge Arch W. McGarity, who will retire from the bench. (Special Photo)

McDONOUGH — The Judicial Nominating Commission for the state of Georgia is considering a list of potential candidates to replace Flint Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Arch W. McGarity, who is retiring after 23 years on the bench.

Nominees will receive application packets by mail on or before Sept. 12, with interviews sometime after Sept. 24 at the State Bar of Georgia in Atlanta.

“The commission will select and recommend to the governor from among those persons found to be ‘qualified’ or ‘well qualified’ a short list of up to five persons for this position,” according to a commission letter from Chairman Pete Robinson dated Aug. 10 and addressed to “all members of the Bar and all citizens of the Flint Judicial Circuit.”

His replacement will be appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal, who has appointed numerous judges during his time in office.

McGarity, a University of Georgia graduate and Mercer Law Review member, was admitted to the bar in 1977. He practiced briefly with his father, who was Henry County solicitor general and who served in both the state House and Senate. McGarity went into partnership with Steve Harrison until 1988, continuing to practice law on his own after the partnership dissolved.

In 1995, then-Gov. Zell Miller appointed McGarity to his first judgeship. From there, McGarity was elected president of the Council of Supreme Court, thereby gaining the opportunity for input during the legislative process.

In Georgia, appointed interim judges must go on the ballot in order to retain their seats. Nearly all judicial elections are nonpartisan, with the exception of Probate Court races. Superior Court, Probate Court and State Court judgeships are on the ballot every four years, while State Court of Appeals and Georgia Supreme Court races are every six years.

Last December, the JNC submitted recommendations for the Flint Judicial Circuit seat now held by Judge John A. “Trea” Pipkin III, who was Henry County solicitor-general. It also offered nominees for the Clayton Judicial Circuit, where Judge Kathryn L. Powers was elevated from Clayton County State Court.

Deal has appointed 37 judges so far this year, as well as two members of the Judicial Nominating Commission, Stephanie Woodard and Robert Strang III.

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