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Georgia’s first black Supreme Court justice to step down

A jurist who became the first African American to serve on the Georgia Supreme Court plans to step down after serving three decades on the high court.

The court said in a news release Friday that Justice Robert Benham has announced he’ll leave the court next year rather than seeking reelection to another six-year term. He was appointed to the court in December 1989 by then-Gov. Joe Frank Harris.

The release says Benham is now 72 and has been telling people for a while that this would be his last term as he would reach the mandatory retirement age of 75 shortly after beginning a new term if he ran again.

His successor will be selected in a statewide election in May 2020.

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