Justice David E. Nahmias (pronounced “NAH-mee-iss”) was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia on August 13, 2009 by Governor Sonny Perdue. In November 2010, Justice Nahmias won a statewide campaign for election to a full six-year term on the Court, defeating two opponents. In 2016, he was elected to another six-year term without opposition.
Justice Nahmias was born in Atlanta on September 11, 1964. He attended Briarcliff High School and was the state’s STAR student in 1982. He attended Duke University, where he graduated second in his class and summa cum laude in 1986, and Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1991 and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review (along with President Barack Obama). Justice Nahmias then clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia and for Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States.
After practicing with the law firm of Hogan & Hartson in Washington, D.C., in January 1995, Justice Nahmias joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta as a federal prosecutor. He worked extensively on the investigation of the Centennial Olympic Park and subsequent bombings that resulted in the indictment of Eric Robert Rudolph. He later worked in the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, where he successfully prosecuted a Georgia state senator on corruption charges and served as co-lead prosecutor on a major investigation of public corruption in the City of Atlanta and Fulton County governments.
Shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Justice Nahmias returned to Washington and became one of the U.S. Justice Department’s leading terrorism prosecutors. As Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, he coordinated the investigation and prosecution of terrorist activity around the United States and in numerous foreign countries. He also assisted in counter-terrorism policymaking and served as a liaison to other federal agencies on terrorism-related issues. On August 1, 2003, Justice Nahmias was appointed Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, responsible for supervision of the Counterterrorism Section; the Fraud Section, which handled policy and litigation matters including corporate, securities, and health care fraud cases and the Enron Task Force; the Appellate Section; and the Capital Case Unit.
On December 1, 2004, after being nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Justice Nahmias took office as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. As the chief federal law enforcement officer for that judicial district, which encompasses 46 counties in Northwest Georgia, including metro Atlanta, he managed an office with approximately 80 lawyers who represented the United States in all criminal and civil litigation in federal court in the district.
As U.S. Attorney, Justice Nahmias supervised the prosecution of Eric Rudolph, securing his guilty plea in 2005 to all four bombings in exchange for life prison sentences with no chance of parole. In 2006, Justice Nahmias oversaw the case against former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, who was convicted of tax evasion charges and sentenced to 30 months in prison. Justice Nahmias also led the prosecution of three Atlanta Police narcotics officers who conspired to violate civil rights by falsifying search warrants, resulting in the police shooting death of 92-year old Kathryn Johnston in November 2006. That case led to significant reforms in the Atlanta Police Department. In addition, Justice Nahmias oversaw the firearms case against entertainer Clifford Harris (“T.I.”) and worked extensively on the first prosecutions in Georgia for providing material support to terrorism.
At the national level, Justice Nahmias was appointed by the U.S. Attorney General to serve on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys (AGAC), which reviews and recommends policies for federal prosecutors nationwide. He also served as AGAC Vice-Chairman and as Chairman of the Terrorism and National Security and the White Collar Crime Subcommittees.
Justice Nahmias has received numerous local, state, and national awards and honors for his public service, including commendations from FBI Directors Louis Freeh (1999) and Robert Mueller (2001); the Justice Department’s national award for Superior Performance by an Assistant U.S. Attorney (2002); commendation by the Justice Department Criminal Division for strong leadership and outstanding service (2004); and the Common Cause of Georgia “Democracy Award” for work on public corruption cases (2007). He has been recognized by the Fulton County Daily Report as an “On the Rise” Georgia attorney (top lawyer under age 40) in 2004 and as the “Luminary” in 2016, and by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the 100 Most Influential Atlantans and by JAMES Magazine as among the Most Influential Georgians in numerous years.
In December 2012, Justice Nahmias was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve as the state court member of the U.S. Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, which reviews and recommends amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that apply to proceedings in federal courts and serve as a model for the similar rules of many states, including Georgia. Justice Nahmias also serves on the Boards of Visitors of Emory University and the Georgia State University College of Law and on the Board of Directors of Families First, a non-profit organization that provides services to children and families in Georgia. He is a Master in the Lamar Inn of Court.
Justice Nahmias’ parents, Andre and Brigitte Nahmias, are retired physicians who immigrated from Eqypt and Germany, respectively. Justice Nahmias is married to Catherine M. O’Neil, a partner at King & Spalding LLP in Atlanta who formerly served as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta and as Associate Deputy Attorney General and Director of the Executive Office for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) at the Justice Department in Washington. They have two young sons.