Axios Atlanta

Picture of the Atlanta skyline.

Happy 🐪 Day!

Today's weather: We'll see lots of clouds and a high near 66.

Situational awareness: As expected, the Board of Regents has named former Gov. Sonny Perdue the sole finalist to lead the University System of Georgia.

Today's newsletter is 638 words — a 2.5-minute read

1 big thing: Our new state Supreme Court justice

Clarence Thomas, Andrew Pinson, Brian Kemp

Judge Pinson (center) at his court of appeals swearing in with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Gov. Brian Kemp. Photo: Courtesy of Office of the Governor

Georgia is getting a new Supreme Court justice: Court of Appeals judge and former Solicitor General Andrew Pinson.

Catch up quick: Chief Justice David Nahmias announced his plans to retire last week, and Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Pinson to the vacancy within days.

Details: Pinson clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, graduated first in his class from the University of Georgia law school and worked for Jones Day.

  • Cases Pinson has worked on include defending the state’s anti-abortion law in federal court and the yearslong “water wars” fight Georgia waged with Florida and Alabama.

The big picture: Because the state Supreme Court doesn't usually encounter the kinds of social or divisive questions the U.S. Supreme Court does, it's difficult to tell whether justices lean conservative or liberal, said Fred Smith, a law professor at Emory University.

  • “It's not a super divided place,” he said.
  • Smith pointed out that unlike other states, Georgia has avoided politicization of its state Supreme Court. That's in part because members of the state bar tend to rally behind incumbents regardless of their own political leanings specifically to discourage electoral battles.

Don Samuel, a criminal defense attorney who regularly argues before the state Supreme Court, doesn't predict the switch will translate into a big change in the court's decisions. He called it a “real powerhouse” and an “unbelievably intellectual” court.

  • Of note: This change won't affect the demographic makeup of the court: seven white people, one Black person, one Asian-American person; five men and four women.

2. 📸 Pic du jour: A temple at dusk

A vibrantly colored Buddhist temple with statues outside during a winter sunset

Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

Just off I-675 in southeast Atlanta sits Wat Lao Buddha Phothisaram, a Buddhist temple built by metro Atlanta's Laotian communities.

Visitors are welcome, though the temple might be locked. Gates usually close at 6pm.

3. 🚚 Georgia sets record for international trade

Illustration of shipping containers arranged like a bar graph.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Peach State set a record last year in international trade, reaching $166.1 billion in 215 countries, according to the 2021 Georgia Global Trade Summary.

The report, which was released yesterday, says Georgia's exports grew by 9% to $42.36 billion last year. Imports increased by 25% from 2020 to reach $123.7 billion in 2021.

  • Our top five trading partners are China, Mexico, Canada, Germany and Korea, the report notes.

Of note: Georgia is seventh for the dollar value of trade in the U.S. and the 12th largest exporting state in the country.

What they're saying: Kemp said in a statement that 85% of Georgia’s exporters are small businesses, and the state's “success story once again shows their resiliency, tenacity, and the reason they are considered the backbone of our economy.”

The report is produced by the Georgia Department of Economic Development's International Team.

By the numbers: Aerospace products were the state's top export, accounting for $9.19 billion in 2021, the report says.

  • The top-traded products were civilian aircraft, vehicles and materials for gas turbines.

Go deeper: Read how our pandemic buying habits are affecting trade nationally.

Fresh job openings around town

🔄 Refresh your career with one of these new listings.

  1. Recruiting Specialist at Homrich Berg.
  2. AdOps Manager at Cardlytics.
  3. Marketing Manager at KMS Technology.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

4. Keep your EV charged at these stations

Data: U.S. Department of Energy; Map: Axios Visuals

Out and about and your electric vehicle is running low on juice? We gotchu!

Check out this map provided by the U.S. Department of Energy that lists electric vehicle charging stations in Atlanta and the 'burbs.

  • You can toggle the map to show stations that have various types of chargers and connectors.

Context: The Biden administration recently launched a $5 billion program to expand states' electric vehicle charging networks, which could finally address a huge barrier to EV purchases: charging anxiety.

5. Five Points: Jovita Moore remembered

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  • Local law enforcement departments are offering incentives to hire, and keep, officers. (AJC)
  • A smart way to reduce abortion rates? Emergency contraception, a new UGA study says. (GPB)
  • One of Decatur's most interesting buildings is prepping for some renovations. (Urbanize)
  • The children of Jovita Moore spoke about the late news anchor's legacy and impact. (WSB)
  • Get ready to talk about redistricting at City Hall. (Saporta Report)

Emma is doing some last minute Amazon shopping for a paddling trip this weekend!

Kristal is checking out "Inventing Anna" on Netflix. Thoughts?

Thomas says thanks to readers Peter C. and Reid D. for noting that Gladys Knight and Eva Davis are other Black women from Atlanta with streets named after them.