Governor will pick replacement for Judge McMillian

With Gov. Nathan Deal appointing Fayette County State Court Judge Carla Wong McMillian to the state Court of Appeals, a vacancy will be left in a very busy court at the justice center in Fayetteville.

Arrangements are being made for a senior (retired) state or superior court judge to fill in until Deal can name a successor for Judge McMillian. She will be sworn in to her new office Thursday afternoon at the Capitol.

Fayette’s state court is a busy one, so whomever is tapped to fill in for her should be available four and sometimes five days a week for court, according to Chief Superior Court Judge Christopher C. Edwards. Edwards has requested the temporary help in a letter to the administrator of the sixth judicial administrative district which includes Fayette’s Griffin Judicial Circuit.

Edwards said Monday that he has been assured state court dates would be covered by a senior judge.

McMillian has kept her case load current, and that should remain the same under fill-in judges until a new appointee is named, Edwards said. Edwards noted that he and McMillian have been in contact and that she is “hyper vigilant” about making sure the state court caseload is covered.

It is expected that it could take two or three months for Deal to seek applicants to the post and ultimately make a selection.

McMillian told The Citizen that she was honored to be selected by Gov. Deal, but the occasion is “bittersweet because I feel I am making a real difference in our community in State Court.”

“It was that concern for our community that led me to give up my private practice for public service in the first place,” McMillian said. “As a judge on the Court of Appeals, it will be a privilege to serve not only the citizens of Fayette County, but the entire state of Georgia.”

McMillian, a Tyrone resident, was appointed to the state court judgeship in August 2010 to replace then-judge Fletcher W. Sams, who was promoted to a Superior Court post. McMillian won her first election to office in July, winning 66 percent of the vote over challenger Stephen Ott, Peachtree City’s municipal court judge.

The state court position was McMillian’s first judicial experience, building on her background as a corporate business attorney with nearly three quarters of her litigation being in federal court. As a private attorney prior to her appointment, McMillian was employed with the Atlanta law firm of Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan.

McMillian has a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and her law degree from the University of Georgia. She and her husband, Lance, have two children.