Robert Benham

Robert Benham Chief Justice of Georgia Supreme Court

Born: September 25, 1946, Cartersville, Georgia
Married: Nell Dodson

  • Graduate of Summer Hill School, Tuskegee University, Lumpkin School of Law at University of Georgia, University of Virginia as well as attending Harvard University
  • Former Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve
  • Georgia Supreme Court Justice from 1989 to present. Served as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court from 1995-2001

Robert Benham graduated Summer Hill High School, Cartersville, Georgia  in 1963 and Tuskegee University in 1967 with a B.S. in Political Science. After attending Harvard University, Benham graduated the Lumpkin School of Law at the University of Georgia in 1970 with a J.D. degree, and the University of Virginia in 1989 with an LL.M degree. After entering the bar in 1970, Benham served in the U.S. Army Reserve, attaining the rank of Captain, and following his brief service as a trial lawyer for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, became the first African American to establish a law practice in Cartersville and Bartow County. Concurrent with his private practice, Benham served as Special Assistant Attorney General for the state of Georgia, and served two terms as President of the Bartow County Bar Association.

On April 3, 1984 Benham was appointed by Governor Joe Frank Harris to the Georgia Court of Appeals, where he served for five years following his subsequent statewide election to the court, distinguishing himself as the first African American to win statewide election in Georgia since reconstruction.  In 1989, Benham was further distinguished as the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of Georgia. Following his appointment by Governor Harris, Benham won election to the Court in 1990, where he continued in his capacity as Chief Justice until the expiration of his term in December 2002. He was since re-elected and continues to serve as Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.

Justice Benham holds membership in numerous professional organizations and continues to reside in Cartersville with his wife, the former Nell Dodson.

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