Jessica M. Karmasek Aug. 13, 2013, 5:15pm

ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) -- Georgia's new Supreme Court chief justice will be sworn this week.

Hugh Thompson officially will become the state's 30th chief justice during an investiture held in the House chamber of the state Capitol building at 2 p.m. Thursday. Former Gov. Zell Miller will swear in Thompson.

In May, Thompson, who previously served as the court's presiding justice, was unanimously elected as the new chief justice.

He will succeed Chief Justice Carol Hunstein.

The state's chief justice presides over Georgia's judicial branch, just as the governor heads the executive branch of government, and House and Senate leaders lead the legislative branch.

The presiding justice serves in his absence.

The chief justice is the main spokesperson for the court, as well as for the entire judiciary. He presides over oral arguments and runs meetings in which the court makes its decisions. Like the other justices, he has one vote.

The chief justice, who serves one 4-year term, also chairs the Georgia Judicial Council, which governs all levels of the state's courts.

Thompson was chief judge of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit when Miller appointed him in 1994 to the Supreme Court. Prior to that, he served as president of the statewide Council of Superior Court Judges.

According to a news release, Thompson will be introduced by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and attorney David Hudson. Gov. Nathan Deal, all six living former chief justices of the state's high court and former Gov. Roy Barnes are expected to be in attendance, among others.

P. Harris Hines has been unanimously elected to become the new presiding justice, taking over for Thompson.

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