Mississippi Supreme Court Presiding Justice George C. Carlson Jr. of Batesville is the 2012 selection for Mississippi State University’s Distinguished Jurist Award. Selections for the honor are made by a committee of political science faculty and Pre-Law Society members.
Carlson was appointed to the Supreme Court by former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in 2001 to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Justice Michael P. Mills. In 2004, he was elected to serve an eight-year term, and, in 2009, he became a presiding justice for the court. He will retire at the end of this term.
Prior to service on the state’s highest court, Carlson was in private practice 1972-82 before being elected in 1983 as circuit judge for the 17th Judicial District of Mississippi. He was re-elected without opposition in 1989, 1990, 1994 and 1998.
Named a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation in 1995, Carlson also is a member of the American Bar and American Judges associations, as well as the Lamar Order of the University of Mississippi School of Law.
In addition to a 1969 MSU history degree, he holds a 1972 law degree from Ole Miss.
Since arriving on the high court, he has continuously served on its Rules Committee. In 2003, he received the Chief Justice Award for his committee work. In 2009, Carlson became chair of the court’s newly created Rules Committee on Practice and Procedure. In other service to the judicial body, he also chairs the Mississippi Model Jury Instructions Commission, which is charged with conducting a comprehensive examination of jury instructions being used in state courts and recommending revised and simplified civil and criminal jury instructions.
Carlson is a 1964 graduate of South Panola High School, where he continues to serve as play-by-play announcer for the nationally recognized Tiger football program.