Deal taps two judges in Bell-Forsyth
4:26 pm, December 3rd, 2012
Governor Nathan Deal has elevated a Forsyth County State Court judge to fill a new seat in the Bell-Forsyth Circuit Superior Court. Deal then filled the state court judge’s seat with another contender for the superior court.
Deal announced Monday that he tapped State Court Judge Philip C. Smith, 57, to the superior court. He then selected Forsyth Solicitor-General Leslie Abernathy, 45, to fill Smith’s seat on the state court.
Deal’s Judicial Nominating Commission had put both Smith and Abernathy on the short list for the superior court seat. The vacancy created by Smith’s promotion to the superior court was not advertised and did not go through the usual JNC vetting process, although previous governors have made similar moves.
The State Legislature approved creating the additional superior court seat during the past session, which was suggested by the Judicial Council of Georgia based on case load and population growth in the circuit.
Smith has been a state court judge since 2003. He also is on the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. He earned his law degree from the University of Georgia and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1979.
Abernathy has been solicitor-general for more than 15 years and is vice chairperson for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia. She earned her law degree from John Marshall Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1991.