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Ray on list for Ga. Supreme Court seat

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Billy Ray is a finalist to become Georgia's newest Supreme Court justice.

William M. Ray II, a former state senator from Lawrenceville, was one of nine attorneys and judges short-listed by the Judicial Nominating Commission to fill the seat being vacated by Leah Ward Sears.

The list was announced Wednesday, the same day Carol Hunstein was sworn in to replace Sears as chief justice.

Gov. Sonny Perdue will interview the nominees, which were picked from a list of more than three dozen.

"I appreciate the significant amount of time and effort JNC members put into this process," Perdue said. "I look forward to meeting with each of the nominees individually and making a selection to the state's highest court."

In addition to Ray, who serves as head of the county's drug court program, the following people were recommended to the governor: U.S. Attorney David Nahmias, Macon attorney Stephen Louis A. Dillard, Atlanta attorney James P. Kelly III, Atlanta attorney Rocco E. Testani, Alcovy Superior Court Judge Samuel D. Ozburn, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig L. Schwall Sr., Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary E. Staley and Henry County Chief State Court Judge Benjamin W. Studdard III.