- Associated Press - Friday, January 6, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia’s governor has sworn in the new chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

A news release from the high court says Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday swore in P. Harris Hines for his new role. Hines was unanimously chosen in September by his fellow justices in September to succeed retiring Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson.

The chief justice heads the state’s judicial branch, presides over oral arguments before the Supreme Court as well as meetings at which justices reach their decisions. The chief justice also serves as the top spokesman for the state’s judicial system.

Hines is to preside over oral arguments Monday, which will be the first time the recently expanded court includes nine justices rather than seven.

Deal also swore in Harold D. Melton as presiding justice.

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