(Photo courtesy of Dan Henry of the Times Free Press)
A Dalton native is headed to the highest seat in the state. Gov. Nathan Deal appointed former state senator and current court of appeals justice Charlie Bethel to the Supreme Court of Georgia Friday afternoon. The 42-year-old will be sworn-in in coming weeks.
Judge Bethel told the Times Free Press that he interviewed for the job with Deal on Friday morning.
“I’ve known the governor for a long time and have always considered him very thoughtful in his process,” said Bethel.
Bethel’s family moved to Dalton when he was 1 year old. After graduating from Dalton High School, he attended the University of Georgia both for undergraduate and law degrees. He clerked under Judge Charles Pannell Jr., of the Northern District of Georgia, and then worked at the Minor, Bell & Neal law firm in Dalton from 2003-05. He also served as an assistant solicitor in Dalton municipal court during that time.
Vters elected him to the Dalton City Council in 2006. He served four years before winning a seat in the state senate as a Republican in 2010, the same year voters elected Deal. He said he and the governor worked closely together in the state capitol.
In November 2016, Deal appointed Bethel to serve on the state’s court of appeals. This was his first experience on the bench.
He said Friday he was confident he was qualified for the state supreme court seat.
“I wouldn’t have put my name forward if I didn’t feel like I was capable of doing the job,” he said. “Hopefully, my work speaks to that issue more than I would.”
Because he is succeeding retired Justice Harris Hinds, Bethel will be up for re-election in 2020.
Read more from Tyler Jett at the Times Free Press.