The Supreme Court of Georgia is the highest court in the state. What gets decided by this court is generally the last word, although decisions may be petitioned for appeal to the United States Supreme Court if they involve federal constitutional law.
Georgia’s Supreme Court reviews decisions made by the state’s lower trial courts in civil and criminal cases. This court alone rules on questions involving the constitutionality of state statutes, criminal cases in which the death sentence was imposed or could have been imposed, election contests, and petitions from decisions of the Court of Appeals. Oral arguments are held three to four times a month, at which time all seven justices sit as a court to hear cases. No trials are held at the appellate level.
How often does the Court hear oral arguments, and who may attend?
The Court hears oral arguments several times each month, except August and December. The calendar normally begins on the second Monday of each month. Oral arguments are open to the public. The courtroom is on the sixth floor of the State Judicial Building, which is located at the corner of Mitchell and Washington streets in downtown Atlanta next to the state Capitol Building.
What is the meaning of the inscription that appears behind the bench in the Courtroom?
The Latin phrase, "Fiat justitia, ruat caelum," means: “Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall.”
Is a decision announced immediately after a case has been orally argued?
No. The Justices take a tentative vote after oral argument, but it is not a binding vote. Under the Georgia Constitution’s “two-term rule,” all cases must be decided within two Court terms, or about six months from the time they are filed here.