Governor Nathan Deal has chosen Fayette County State Court Judge Carla Wong McMillian to be the newest judge on the state Court of Appeals.
McMillian, 39, is the first Asian-American judge on the appellate bench. She was appointed to the state court by Governor Sonny Perdue in 2010 and won re-election in July in a contested race.
Deal selected McMillian from a short list of candidates recommended by his Judicial Nominating Commission that also included Dougherty County Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss and Tift County State Court Judge Larry Mims. More than 75 people were nominated for the seat, 33 applied and 16 were interviewed.
Wednesday’s appointment means Deal will have named one-third of the entire 12-member Court of Appeals. He tapped Judge Michael Boggs in 2011 and Judges William Ray and Elizabeth Branch in 2012. Deal last year also named Appeals Court Judge Keith Blackwell to the Supreme Court.
Deal appears to have broken a dry spell in female appointees to the appellate courts. When he announced his selection of Branch in July 2012, it was the first time a woman had been named to the Court of Appeals since Governor Roy Barnes appointed M. Yvette Miller in 1999.
Prior to her appointment to the state court bench, McMillian was a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, where she represented auto and motorcycle manufacturers in the areas of franchise and dealer litigation and defended accountants against malpractice actions.
McMillian earned her law degree from the University of Georgia and clerked for U.S. District Judge William C. O’Kelley in Atlanta. She also is on the boards of the Atlanta Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society and the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association.