The 75-year-old judge, whose birthday was Thursday, said in a previous interview that there is a “mandatory retirement” at that age.
Her retirement is effective Dec. 31.
During the ceremony, which was held in the Superior Courthouse, Cobb Board of Commission Chair Tim Lee, State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) and Georgia Supreme Court Judge Harris Hines each read aloud a proclamation honoring Robinson’s service.
Lee cited Robinson as being a “pioneer throughout her career” and referred to her as a trailblazer for being not only the first female appointed to serve as a judge of a court of record but the first woman to be elected as a Superior Court Judge in the Cobb Judicial Circuit.
“Thank you for your honorable and faithful service to our community and state,” he said. “We wish you your best in your future endeavors.”
Setzler, the Cobb Delegation chair, thanked her for her “time, talent and energy for the betterment of the community.”
“The members of this body commend Judge Dorothy A. Robinson for her efficient, effective, unselfish and dedicated public service to the State of Georgia,” he read. “We extend to her the most sincere wishes from the State of Georgia.”
Hines began working with Robinson in 1974 when he joined the State Court of Cobb County.
He said the group of judges was referred to as the “Family Court of Cobb County,” with Robinson being the mother and he being the “child.”
“Mom, you’ve done us proud,” he said to Robinson, getting a few laughs from the audience.
Marietta attorney Dennis O’Brien told the crowd that whether an attorney won or lost a case in Robinson’s courtroom, they always walked away from a trial feeling that she was fair in her judgment.
“I always admired her achievements, her wit and her wisdom,” he said. “Because of her courage and pioneer spirit, I’ve always believed Judge Robinson to be an excellent role model for the young people, especially the young women.”
At the close of the ceremony, Robinson thanked everyone for attending and said that while she had a prepared a long speech to read, she decided against it.
“It’s been an interesting 40 years,” she said, getting a round of applause from the audience.
She thanked former Georgia governor and U.S. President Jimmy Carter for appointing her to the State Court of Cobb County in 1972.
“It’s a bittersweet day I suppose because I am happy about retiring, but it’s also going to be something that I’ll miss. I’ll miss working with all of the staff that I had,” she said.
The portrait was painted by Marietta artist Robert Meredith, who painted three other portraits before Robinson’s, and was paid for by more than 80 contributors, the largest contribution being $1,000 from a former law clerk, said Steve Woodman, who raised the funds.
“She was an inspiration to all of the lawyers, men and women, of course especially women coming out of law school … with the example she set on the bench,” said Woodman, who served as Robinson’s first staff attorney from 1979 to 1982.
Robinson’s career in law began in December 1967, when she was practicing law in Marietta.
She was appointed to the State Court of Cobb County in 1972 and later elected as a Superior Court Judge in the Cobb County Judicial Circuit in 1980.
In 1985, she was the first woman in the 140-year history of the Supreme Court of Georgia to be invited to sit as a Justice Pro Hac Vice in that court.
In her 40 years as a judge, she never had a ruling reversed.
Additional accolades include serving as the Chief Judge of Cobb Circuit from 1995 to 1997, serving two years as a 7th District Administrative Judge, and being president of the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, the YWCA Cobb County Woman of Achievement in 1985 and the longest serving elected official in Cobb County.
Cobb Juvenile Court Judge Greg Poole will succeed her in January.