ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) - Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Keith Blackwell will be sworn in Thursday as the state Supreme Court's newest justice.

Gov. Nathan Deal, who appointed Blackwell to the Court last month, will swear him in at 9:30 a.m. in the House chamber of the state Capitol, according to a news release.

"The Supreme Court will benefit from Judge Blackwell's experience on both sides of the bench," the governor said in a statement last month.

"His intelligence, many years of experience and dedicated commitment to public service will serve Georgians well in his new role on our state's highest court."

Blackwell, 37, will fill the vacancy on the Court left by Chief Justice George Carley, whose resignation became effective Tuesday.

"I am grateful to Gov. Deal for his confidence in me and for this opportunity to serve the people of Georgia as a justice of the Supreme Court," Blackwell said in a statement. "To be appointed as a justice is a humbling experience, but that is especially so when the appointment follows after a jurist as distinguished and respected as Chief Justice George Carley. I also wish to express my gratitude to the chief justice for his many years of fine service to the people of Georgia.

"I have given my word to Gov. Deal, and I give my word to the citizens of this state, that every day and in every case, I will adhere to the high standards of impartiality, independence and integrity that Georgians rightfully expect of their judges; that I will faithfully apply the law as it is, not as I might wish it to be; and that I will respect the separation of powers, bearing in mind that the judicial power, though indispensable to our system of government, is a limited one."

Blackwell has served as a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals since his appointment by former Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2010.

He also has served as an adviser to the Business Courts Committee of the State Bar and chair of the Committee on Court Rules at the Court of Appeals.

Before his time on the appeals court, he practiced law as an associate with Alston and Bird LLP for three years, representing clients in criminal and regulatory investigations, class action lawsuits and complex commercial litigation.

Blackwell also served as an assistant district attorney in Cobb County for two years, where he represented the state in hundreds of felony prosecutions involving murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, carjacking, drug trafficking and financial crimes.

He also served as an associate, and then as a partner, with Parker, Hudson, Rainer and Dobbs LLP for five years, focusing on contract, real estate, insurance and business-tort cases.

In addition, he served as a law clerk for Judge J.L. Edmondson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit from 1999 to 2000.

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