As President Donald Trump seeks to nominate a replacement for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, his public list of contenders includes a federal judge who lives in Sandy Springs and has other local ties.

Britt Grant is a judge on the Atlanta-based U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, a position to which Trump also nominated her in 2018. A former justice on the Supreme Court of Georgia, Grant has been on Trump’s list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees since 2017. The current list includes more than 40 other people, including judges and, in a recent update, some U.S. senators.

Federal Judge Britt Grant in her official photo from her previous position as a justice on the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18, was a member of the court’s liberal wing. The court vacancy has triggered enormous political controversy over not only the usual topic of how a new justice might tilt the court’s ideological balance, but also the propriety — or urgency — of the president nominating a successor so close to an election he or his party might lose.

In a 2017 speaking appearance before the Sandy Springs Bar Association, Grant talked about her local ties and described her conservative judicial philosophy as influenced by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Grant said at the time that 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.

Grant’s legal background includes clerking for then federal judge Brett Kavanaugh, who is now a U.S. Supreme Court justice nominated by Trump.

Grant also served in the Georgia 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 former Gov. Nathan Deal when he was a congressman and served in President George W. Bush’s White House in domestic policy jobs.

While working for Olens, Grant 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.

The Sept. 11 attacks occurred while Grant was working in the White House, while her husband Justin — also a Sandy Springs native — worked at the CIA. She said that “unnatural disaster” was a strong influence on her.

“It affected me very deeply based on what I saw and heard that day,” said Grant. “…I remember from those days understanding our government was under threat,” as was the U.S. Constitution, she said.

Grant said the attacks reinforced her idea that the U.S. Constitution is something to defend. She said the post-attack period was 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.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.