The front of the Business Court Seal incorporates the Great Seal of Georgia, with only minor modifications. Originally adopted by the State Constitution of 1798, the front side of the Great Seal (and that of the Business Court Seal) has three pillars supporting an arch, emblematic of the three branches of government – the legislative, judicial and executive. A man stands with a drawn sword defending the Constitution whose principles are wisdom, justice and moderation.
As discussed above, the Business Court was formally created through an amendment to the Georgia Constitution in November 2018 and through subsequent enabling legislation in May 2019. The Business Court, however, did not officially commence operations until more than a year later, on August 3, 2020. The Court has chosen to adopt “2020” for use on its Seal in commemoration of the its formal opening.
The back of the Seal incorporates a number of different elements, each of symbolic importance to the formation and future of the Business Court:
- Outline of State of Georgia/Scales of Justice – The Business Court is the first new statewide class of court created under the Georgia Constitution since the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1906. In recognition of this historic moment, and the responsibility the Business Court bears to administer justice for all who conduct business in Georgia, the lower left section of the Seal incorporates an image of the Scales of Justice overlayed against an outline image of the State of Georgia.
- Agriculture & Commerce – The lower right section of the Seal incorporates a miniaturized image of the back side of the Great Seal, which bear the words, “Agriculture and Commerce.” The Secretary of State’s website describes the back side of the Seal as follows: “The reverse of the Seal shows a ship with cotton and tobacco, and a man plowing, representing the agriculture and commerce of the Seal’s motto.” This image commemorates the Business Court’s specific, and limited, jurisdictional underpinnings.
- Honeste Vivere – Alterum Non Laedere – Suum Cuique Tribuere – This Latin phrase can be seen arching over the upper section of the Seal and translates as follows: “To live honorably, to injure no one, to render each their own.” This statement, in whole and in parts, has been attributed to Ulpian of Tyre, an early Roman jurist, whose work later incorporated into the Digest, also known as Corpus Juris Civilis (“Body of Civil Law”), a compilation and codification of Roman civil law ordered by Justinian I in the mid-6th Century.
- Image of the Nathan Deal Judicial Center – As the newest of the three Georgia courts with statewide jurisdiction, it is undoubtedly an honor and privilege serve alongside the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, two courts with long and distinguished legacies in this State, in the majestic surroundings of the Nathan Deal Judicial Center. To borrow sentiments expressed by Chief Justice Harold Melton: “I enter the new Nathan Deal Judicial Center with awe and humility, mindful that all of us who work here, and all who work in the judicial system statewide, are united in a single purpose – to uphold the rule of law and render impartial justice to all Georgia citizens, regardless of their circumstances . . . The Nathan Deal Judicial Center is more than a building. It is a monument to the rule of law, a symbol of justice for all, and a promise to you and the citizens of this great state. I hope you look at this new building that graces Atlanta’s landscape with pride and hope for all that is to come, just as I do.”
As the central focal point of the Seal’s backside, the image of the Nathan Deal Judicial Center symbolizes, not only the sentiments that the Chief Justice so eloquently articulated, but also the commitment the citizenry and leaders of this State have made to secure the long-term success of the Business Court.