Senators introduce legislation to rename Rome federal building for Judge Harold Murphy

Thursday, June 20, 2024–11:18 a.m.

-News Release-

U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Reverend Raphael Warnock are introducing a bill to honor the late Judge Harold L. Murphy, who passed away in December 2022.

Sens. Ossoff and Rev. Warnock have introduced legislation to rename the Federal building in Rome as the “Harold L. Murphy Federal Building and United States Courthouse” to honor the late Judge Murphy at the courthouse where he served for decades.

“The late Judge Harold Murphy served Georgia with distinction for decades. Senator Reverend Warnock and I are introducing this bill to honor his lifetime of public service by renaming the Rome Federal Building and Courthouse in his honor,” Sen. Ossoff said.

“More than just a renaming a building, this bill honors the late Judge Harold Murphy’s lifetime of service to the people of Georgia, the United States, and to the rule of law. Judge Murphy’s time on the bench in Georgia was defined by integrity, truth, and equal justice for all,” Senator Reverend Warnock said. “He represented the best of us, and I am proud to join Senator Ossoff in uplifting his memory and contributions to our legal system.”

“We are deeply grateful for the legislation and support in favor of naming the Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Rome, Georgia after our Dad,” said Judge Murphy’s sons, Judge Mark Murphy and Paul Murphy. “We know that he would be humbled by this legislation.  Dad was everything a judge should be, with a stellar reputation for unwavering integrity and a steadfast commitment to the fair and impartial administration of justice for all persons.  We are confident he would view this honor as a tribute to these principles and hope that it would serve to inspire future generations of judges, lawyers, and litigants.”

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14) and Congressman Barry Loudermilk (GA-11) introduced the companion bill in the House, which passed in March 2024.

Judge Harold L. Murphy was born in Felton, Georgia, and attended West Georgia College before serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Murphy later graduated from the University of Mississippi and University of Georgia School of Law. Murphy practiced law in Buchanan and Tallapoosa from 1949 to 1971, also serving as a a State Representative in Georgia from 1951 to 1961.

In 1971, Judge Murphy was appointed by Governor Jimmy Carter to the Superior Court for the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit. Following his election in 1976, President Carter nominated Judge Murphy to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Judge Murphy was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 28, 1977, where he served for the next 45 years.

“In my first term in the United States Senate, I was honored to join my colleague, Senator Talmadge, in recommending that President Jimmy Carter nominate Superior Court Judge Harold Loyd Murphy to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia,” said former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. “Judge Murphy was an exemplary and modest member of Tom Brokaw’s ‘Greatest Generation.’ He was a Navy veteran, an outstanding lawyer, and a role model jurist – fair, impartial, just, compassionate, and a courageous defender of our rule of law and our constitutional values. Judge Murphy’s name on the Rome Federal building and courthouse will give strong emphasis to these American principles.”

“Harold Murphy was a giant of the law. He was courteous, knowledgeable, and fair. The naming of this Federal Building in Rome is only appropriate for this great man,” said former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes.

“In his 40-plus years on the federal bench, Judge Murphy established himself as one of its most respected members. He was known for his industry, energy, fairness to all, and, of course, his dry wit as many who have practiced before Judge Murphy can attest, his mid-witness examination quips were legendary,” former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher said.

“The Rome courthouse has been synonymous with Judge Murphy for 45 years, as he took the bench just two years after the courthouse opened and presided over that courtroom every day since then. Lawyers looked forward to federal court in Rome because they knew they had the privilege and pleasure of appearing before one of Georgia’s most distinguished jurists. His presence still fills the courtroom and it’s so fitting that the courthouse will honor his extraordinary legacy,” said John Horn, former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

Click here to read the legislation.