A Georgia Supreme Court judge who hails from Sandy Springs has been nominated to sit on a federal appeals court by President Trump.
Justice Britt Grant would sit on the Atlanta-based U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals if her nomination is approved by the U.S. Senate. Grant appeared last fall at a Sandy Springs Bar Association lunch, where she declined to comment on rumors of the federal judgeship nomination.
Grant is also on Trump’s published short list of candidates for a potential U.S. Supreme Court nomination if a seat comes open.
Grant’s legal background includes clerking for a federal judge; serving in Georgia’s Attorney General’s office under Sam Olens and Chris Carr, including as solicitor general, or top trial attorney; and working in private practice. She also worked for current Gov. Nathan Deal when he was a congressman and served in President George W. Bush’s White House in domestic policy jobs.
Deal appointed Grant to the state Supreme Court, where she began work last year.
The 11th Circuit Court has jurisdiction over appeals arising from federal district courts in Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
Comments from last year’s Sandy Springs appearance
At the bar association lunch last year, Grant described her conservative judicial philosophy and how it was shaped by the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, which were committed while she worked in the White House.
“I remember from those days understanding our government was under threat,” as was the U.S. Constitution, she said.
She said she is a descendant of the Burdett family, whose “milk house,” dating to around 1860 and preserved on the Heritage Sandy Springs site, is the city’s oldest unaltered structure.
Grant was born at Buckhead’s Piedmont Hospital and attended The Westminster Schools before heading to Stanford Law School in California, which she jokingly described as a “foreign trip” from the conservative Georgia perspective. While working for Olens, she said, she had a “strong desire to sing the praises of Sandy Springs” as he talked so much about his home region of Cobb County.
Grant described her judicial philosophy as “separation of powers” and change by “democratic process rather than by judicial fiat.”
“Our job is to respect what the text of the law is,” as well as jury decisions, she said. A big factor in her perspective, she said, is her service in all three branches of government at both the federal and local levels, “when you’ve been in the shoes of the person who had to make that decision.”
Another big influence: the “unnatural disaster” of Sept. 11. “It affected me very deeply based on what I saw and heard that day,” said Grant, who was working in the White House’s West Wing at the time, while her husband Justin — also a Sandy Springs native — worked at the CIA.
Grant said the attacks reinforced her idea that the U.S. Constitution is something to defend. She said they also were followed by a time different from today’s “polarized politics.”
“Such a comparatively short time ago, we all knew and believed we’re all in this together,” she said.