Justice Keith R. Blackwell was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia on June 25, 2012 by Governor Nathan Deal. Before that, he served as a judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia, where he was appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue on November 1, 2010. Justice Blackwell is a native of Cherokee County and now lives in Cobb County with his wife, Angela, and their three daughters.
The son of a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force and a history teacher, Justice Blackwell was raised in Ball Ground. After graduating as valedictorian from Cherokee High School in Canton, Justice Blackwell was awarded a University of Georgia Foundation Fellowship. He attended the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia, where he was enrolled in the Honors Program and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated summa cum laude from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1996 with a degree in political science and as a First Honor Graduate, having the highest grade-point average in his graduating class. Justice Blackwell then attended the School of Law at the University of Georgia, where he served as Senior Editor of the Georgia Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He graduated summa cum laude from the School of Law in 1999, again as First Honor Graduate.
Following his graduation from law school, Justice Blackwell served as a law clerk to Judge J.L. Edmondson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Justice Blackwell then practiced law as an associate at Alston & Bird, LLP, where he represented clients in criminal and regulatory investigations, consumer class actions and other complex commercial litigation. Beginning in early 2003, Justice Blackwell served as an Assistant District Attorney in Cobb County, where he represented the State of Georgia in several hundred felony prosecutions, including prosecutions for murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, carjacking, drug trafficking and financial crimes. In late 2005, Justice Blackwell joined Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs, LLP, in Atlanta as an associate and three years later, he was elected as a partner of the firm. At Parker, Hudson, Justice Blackwell focused his practice on complex commercial litigation, including contract, real estate, insurance and business-tort cases. His practice also included the representation of crime victims in connection with criminal investigations and prosecutions, the representation of brokerage firms in securities arbitration and litigation and the representation of businesses and non-profit organizations in connection with issues concerning trade secrets, computer crimes, the privacy of nonpublic personal information and other data security matters. In 2010, Justice Blackwell was appointed as Deputy Special Attorney General to represent the State of Georgia in litigation challenging the constitutionality of federal healthcare reform legislation.
Justice Blackwell has been active in a number of professional and legal policy organizations. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Atlanta Chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, and he previously served as the Chapter president for three years and as a member of its Executive Board. He also is a member of the Cobb Bar Association and the State Bar of Georgia. Justice Blackwell presently serves as an advisor to the State Bar Committee on Business Courts, and he has been active in the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar as well, having served on its Committee on State Practice and Legislation. In addition, Justice Blackwell is a master of the Joseph Henry Lumpkin American Inn of Court and the Columbus American Inn of Court. Prior to his service as a judge, Justice Blackwell served as a member of the Governor’s Judicial Nominating Commission and as an advisor to the House Judiciary Committee with respect to the revision of the state evidence code.