Britt Grant of Georgia has been an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia since 2017. In May 2018, President Trump nominated Justice Grant to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She has not yet been confirmed. From 2015 to 2017, Justice Grant served as the Solicitor General for the State of Georgia. Justice Grant attended Stanford Law School and clerked for Judge Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
A man pled guilty to violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism Prevention Act for his participation in a drive-by shooting of Rapper Lil’ Wayne’s tour bus. Justice Grant authored an opinion in which the court reversed the convictions, finding that the trial court judge’s statements to the defendant strongly suggested that he would face a longer sentence if he chose to not plead guilty. Justice Grant concluded that this conduct not only violated court rules, but also rendered the plea involuntary. Justice Grant reasoned that the judge’s actions were so egregious because he implied a desire to sentence the defendant and noted his proclivity for harsh sentences. Another judge on Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees, Justice Keith Blackwell, dissented.
The Georgia Supreme Court held that the adoption of a proposed zoning ordinance was not a “decision” by an “administrative agency” per a state statute, and thus a suit based upon the ordinance’s adoption was not precluded on procedural grounds. Justice Grant concurred, emphasizing a need to adhere to the text of the statute, and lamented the law’s lack of clarity. Justice Grant further suggested that the state legislature was best able to address the difficulty the court had in interpreting the statute because it could alter the unclear language.
A high school student died while engaging in horseplay with another student when his teacher was out of the room. Justice Grant upheld a trial court grant of summary judgment for the teacher on official immunity grounds. Grant found that the school’s policy requiring teachers to remain in classrooms with students at all times was not clear enough to have explicitly required that the teacher not leave. Because the teacher’s actions were thereby discretionary, a Georgia statute entitled the teacher to the defense of official immunity against a suit brought by the student’s parents.
Justice Grant authored a unanimous majority opinion for a Georgia Supreme Court case that upheld a $40 million judgment against FCA Chrysler and in favor of the family of a child who died when a Jeep gas tank exploded. FCA Chrysler argued that the trial court erred by admitting evidence that detailed the compensation of the company’s CEO. Justice Grant reasoned that because the petitioner only objected on relevance grounds, the court reviewed the lower court’s admission for plain error rather than an abuse-of-discretion standard. Justice Grant concluded it was not a plain error for the trial court to find that the prejudicial effect of the admission did not outweigh it probative value.