Georgia Supreme Court justice announces plans to resign

Justice Keith R. Blackwell ( Supreme Court of Georgia )

A Georgia Supreme Court justice announced Friday that he plans to resign in November, citing family obligations.

Justice Keith Blackwell, 44, said in a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp that he has decided to return to private law practice, according to a statement from the court.

“Our oldest daughter will leave for college in only a couple of years, and her sisters will follow not long behind,” Blackwell wrote. “I have decided that it is best for my family that I return to the private practice of law.”

Blackwell was appointed to the high court in 2012 by then-Gov. Nathan Deal after having served for two years on the state Court of Appeals. His last day on the Supreme Court will be Nov. 18, and Kemp will appoint his replacement.

Justice Robert Benham announced earlier this year that he would retire March 1. The process to find his replacement, who will also be appointed by Kemp, is underway.

“I count as the greatest honors of my professional life to have served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia and as a Judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia,” Blackwell wrote to the governor. “In my years of judicial service, I have been especially privileged to serve alongside my former and present colleagues, talented and tireless men and women who reflect — by their integrity, their collegiality, their professionalism, their scholarship, and their shared commitment to the rule of law and the principle of equal justice under the law — the highest standards of public service.”