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Judge Ozburn not appointed to Georgia Supreme Court
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David E. Nahmias - The Next Georgia Supreme Court Justice

Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed David Nahmias to the Georgia Supreme Court because of his law experience and knowledge and recommendations from some of the top legal experts in the country.

Since Dec. 2004 Nahmias has been a U.S. Attorney in Northern Georgia, where he served as the region’s chief federal law enforcement officer and managed approximately 80 federal lawyers. In Georgia he oversaw the prosecutions of Centennial Park bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and the Neal Street police shooting case.

Before 2004, Nahmias worked in the counterterrorism department in the Department of Justice. As Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the U.S., he oversaw the prosecutions of Zacarias Moussaoui, John Walker Lindh, Richard Reid and many others.

Nahmias received recommendations from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.

Sources: Office of Governor press release and spokesman Bert Brantley

Update, Wednesday 3:29 p.m.

Alcovy Superior Court Judge Samuel Ozburn is disappointed about not being named the next Georgia Supreme Court justice, but he said he was honored to be considered and is happy to be in Newton County.

“I enjoyed the process. It was very interesting and very gratifying and I know that I was and am supported by so many people. I was very humbled. Yes, I would have liked to have gotten the appointment, but I’m not depressed or upset or anything like that,” Ozburn said.

“It’s an honor to be in position that I am. The people of Newton County and Walton County have been so gracious and supportive throughout this; it’s something I’ll never forget. It just wasn’t meant to be, and I accept that and will move on and cross the next bridge,” he said.

Ozburn, who was one of nine finalists for the Georgia Supreme Court, said a representative from the Governor’s Office called Thursday morning and told him that the governor was appointing David Nahmias, a U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Georgia.

Ozburn had been in a waiting period for the past two weeks after interviewing with Gov. Sonny Perdue; an interview Ozburn said went really well.

“We had a great conversation, and Gov. Perdue was very engaged and well prepared for it. He was interested in my judicial philosophy and my thoughts on judicial independence … I explained to him how I felt about these and he seemed very at ease about it,” Ozburn said. “Sometimes you look back and wonder if you should have said that, but that was not the case here. We had good time and interview lasted for 30 minutes even though it was only scheduled for 20.”

Ozburn said he thought Perdue was looking for a nominee with a conservative judicial philosophy, similar to the Republicans who questioned U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

“(He asked) whether I would be an activist judge or would defer to the legislative branch to the make policy. I am somewhat conservative, and I do not feel courts should make policy: that is the purview of the legislature,” Ozburn said.

While Ozburn was waiting for the governor’s decision on Wednesday, he said he wasn’t nervous, because he’s been so busy and because he enjoys being a Superior Court judge.

“I’m very much at peace. Everybody has been very supportive and nice … I can’t think of anything further that could have been done that hasn’t been,” Ozburn said. “I enjoy being here and I enjoy my job. I feel called, wherever God puts me, I’ll be blessed to be where I am.”

Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle), who nominated Ozburn for the Georgia Supreme Court, said he congratulated Nahmias for being selected but felt Ozburn would have been a great justice.

“I would like to nominate him again in the future if the opportunity arises,” Douglas said in a phone interview. “However, the state’s loss is our gain and we will continue to have Sammy doing great work here in the Alcovy circuit.”

Original Breaking News: Wednesday, 12:05 p.m.

Alcovy Superior Court Judge Samuel Ozburn will not be the next Georgia Supreme Court justice. Ozburn said a representative from the Governor’s Office called this morning and told him that the Governor was appointing David Nahmias, a U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Georgia.

“They called to thank me and were very gracious. They wanted me to be aware (for the announcement),” Ozburn said. “I am a little disappointed, but I’m very happy where I am. We’ll just keep right on working for the people of Newton and Walton counties.”