The Republican lawmaker responsible for administering the “poison pill” that killed a controversial religious freedom proposal in Georgia was appointed to a state judicial post Wednesday by Gov. Nathan Deal.

State Rep. Mike Jacobs, whose inclusion of non-discrimination language in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a committee hearing effectively froze the measure, was named a state court judge for DeKalb County by the governor yesterday.

Cultural conservatives grumbled that Jacobs would face a primary challenge over his role in the religious liberty debate last session, but the Sandy Springs GOPer has long been eying a judicial appointment and associates say his decision to leave the legislature was not motivated by a potential challenger — on the right or left.

Already three names in are in the mix to succeed him: Republicans Catherine Bernard, who unsuccessfully challenged Jacobs in last year’s primary, and J. Max Davis, the Mayor of Brookhaven; as well as Democratic activist Matthew Weiss.