Justice Verda Colvin, who currently sits on the Georgia Supreme Court in Atlanta, visited Statesboro over the weekend as part of her campaign for reelection this month. Grice Connect caught up with her after her visit on Sunday.
Justice Colvin was appointed to the court by Governor Brian Kemp in 2021 and will appear as the incumbent on the ballot, challenged by attorney Veronica Brinson of Macon.
Colvin was born and raised in Atlanta but has made Macon her home. She previously served as a prosecutor in Atlanta, a trial judge on the Superior Court of the Macon Judicial Circuit, and a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals. In addition, she has served on the Council of Accountability Court Judges.
She was the first African American woman appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court by a Republican governor and has served on Georgia’s high court since July of 2021.
Local attorney and friend of Justice Colvin’s, Sharri Edenfield, explained the importance of this particular race as well as the significance of Colvin’s vast judicial career prior to her current appointment.
Edenfield pointed out that the ultimate job of the Georgia Supreme Court is to correct the alleged errors of lower courts. In her opinion, Colvin’s previous service on those same lower courts afford her the experience to do the job effectively.
“Who sits on the Georgia Supreme Court matters,” Edenfield said. “As a lawyer, it’s very important to me — and should be very important to anyone on the bench — that she has had the experience of being a Superior Court judge.”
“She’s accustomed to seeing people in all sorts of different situations,” she continued.
“You want people who reflect the population but also have the experience to understand the issues that will be coming before them. If you’ve never been a trial court judge, it’s harder to make that leap.”
According to Colvin, an important tenet of her judicial service has been her commitment to fairness.
“The Supreme Court of Georgia is the final word on what the law means in Georgia,” Colvin said. “It’s important to have justices who understand the law, apply it as written, and don’t apply their personal philosophy or opinion to that interpretation.”
“I’ve shown my commitment throughout my career,” she said. “People can’t pigeonhole me. I follow the law, and I don’t interject my opinions.” Edenfield echoed those same sentiments.
“She’s just profoundly qualified,” she said. “You’re going to get ‘fair’ from her.”
Despite living and working in two of Georgia’s larger cities, Colvin is always willing to travel to smaller communities throughout the state.
“Every Georgian matters,” Colvin said of her visit to Statesboro. “I value small communities.
Smaller towns put me back in the mindset of how I grew up.”
In that same vein, Justice Colvin says she prides herself on having a servant’s heart, both on and off the bench. (Some may remember a video of her that went viral in 2016, when she came down off the bench to offer some “real talk” to teens in one of Macon’s accountability courts.)
“I care about what I do,” she said, Idon’t have stock in having a position or a title; I have stock in service. This seat belongs to the people of Georgia. It doesn’t belong to me.”
She is willing to travel throughout Georgia for public service commitments in addition to her work on the Court, and she feels public servants should say yes to these opportunities whenever possible.
Edenfield, who has known Colvin for years, describes her as humble, a great listener, and very active in her church and family life.
“She has a real heart for people,” Edenfield said. Though her time outside of work is extremely limited, Colvin enjoys exercise, reading inspirational books and fiction, and spending time with her family.
Colvin’s parting advice to voters in her race and others is to research the candidates well. “I tell people to Google me,” she said, “And my opponent as well. Google us and see who we are and what we were. It will tell you the story of who a person was before they presented themselves for office.”
She is confident that those who take the time to do the research will be pleased with her qualifications.
“My court experience and appellate experience show that I’ve done the work to do the job,” she said. “I’m committed, balanced, and proven.”
Early voting is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm, now through May 20, with Saturday voting on May 14 from 9am to 5pm. All early voting takes place at the Bulloch County Annex at 113 North Main Street. Election day is Tuesday, May 24.