When the news reached Luxembourg that Judge Gail Tusan was leaving the bench, I was a bit disappointed. In the Georgia judicial system, there is still much to be done in promoting, supporting, and empowering judges that routinely demonstrate exemplary talent, skill, and temperament—especially when they also bring diversity to our bench.
Like most judges, Judge Tusan sometimes ruled for me and sometimes against me. She set boundaries (like not raising an issue again) which I knew she was fully prepared to enforce. But, I also knew she had read the law, considered the issues, and was making a decision based on the merits of my arguments, not any of the litany of other factors that sometimes even now taint our judicial system.
There is little question in my mind that she would have made an outstanding appellate judge in either the federal or state system. Unfortunately, hers was a problem of timing—one that I could not solve notwithstanding my firm and unwavering belief in her abilities to serve the state of Georgia in such a capacity as well as any other candidate.
Here in Luxembourg, I am exposed to all sorts of judicial systems from the European Union to the Grand Duchy. And, I see and work with all kinds of attorneys. With that context, I can attest that there are few that match her skill sets and talents.
Georgia will miss her on the bench—not just because diversity may suffer yet another blow in a state with much left to be done on the Georgia bench. But, much more importantly, she brought a level of pure and obvious professionalism that should be the envy of every attorney practicing in the Georgia courts.
No doubt, Judge Tusan will move on to her next (and more profitable) career. Yet, as one who practiced before her, helped recommend judges for both federal and state appellate benches, and witnessed the best and the worst Georgia has to offer, I felt compelled to note the significance of this moment of her departure from the bench. Her replacement will hopefully bring to the Superior Court of Fulton County all of the qualities that Judge Tusan did.
The reason is simple. It is more important now, in these times, that our bench move forward, not backward, in the drive toward justice for all in our great state with the best the Georgia Bar has to offer.
If you happen to come through Europe, stop by—the U.S. Embassy will welcome you.
Ambassador J. Randolph Evans
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Editor's note: Evans co-chaired Gov. Nathan Deal's Judicial Nominations Commission until he was confirmed for his diplomatic post last year.