A newly confirmed federal judge added a special concurrence to his last opinion for the Georgia Court of Appeals Wednesday to say goodbye and thanks.
At the end of a routine 12-page opinion affirming a lower court’s decision in a small contract dispute, Judge Tripp Self added a personal three-page note.
The U.S. Senate confirmed Self Monday as President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill an opening on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. Two days later, Self released his final opinion for the state’s intermediate appellate court, where he has served for just over a year.
Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Self to an expansion position on the Court of Appeals, starting January 2017. Previously, Self served for 10 years as a Superior Court judge on the Macon Judicial Circuit. Before that, he was an attorney with the Macon law firm of Sell & Melton. Self also served as a field artillery officer in the U.S. Army. He received his Bachelor of Science from The Citadel and his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law.
“For more than eleven years, I have had the good fortune and distinct privilege to serve my fellow Georgians as a trial and appellate judge,” Self wrote at the end of the decision in Blackmon v. Pena, No. A17A1500. “Without a doubt, this unique and unparalleled opportunity has been the highlight of my legal career. With the filing of this opinion, my service on this distinguished court and in Georgia’s judicial system comes to an end. As others have occasionally done, I am taking a point of personal privilege in my last opinion to thank some of the many people who have meant so much along this journey.”
Self thanked the voters of the Macon Judicial Circuit, the governor and his colleagues on the Court of Appeals, whom he said have made him a better person and a better judge. He saved his most lavish tribute for his staff.
“Finally, I wish to thank my longtime assistant, Cheryl Collins, and my unmatched staff attorneys Julianne Whisnant, Jessica Wright, and Chad Jacobs for their excellent work,” Self said. “They deserve all of the credit for our exceptional opinions and I alone take the blame for any mistakes. Each work tirelessly behind the scenes with little recognition and our Court is lucky to have them. Like Kunz, one of the many heroes in Sir Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, they have consistently turned chaos into order, and done so with amazing skill, Job-like patience, and limitless grace.”
The new federal judge closed with fond words for his home state.
“I will always cherish my time on this most honorable court,” Self said. “God bless the great State of Georgia; may she forever endure as the greatest of all states.”
The governor’s Judicial Nominating Commission is now taking applications to fill Self’s job and others on the Court of Appeals.