Senate Committee Considers Nominations of Kristi Johnson & Taylor McNeel to Serve on the Southern District of Mississippi

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., today offered strong recommendations for the confirmation of Kristi H. Johnson of Brandon and Taylor B. McNeel of Pascagoula to serve as U.S. District Judges for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Wicker and Hyde-Smith introduced Johnson and McNeel at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to consider their nominations. President Trump selected Johnson in March and McNeel in June. Notably, the two Mississippi nominees did not face criticism by members of the committee.

“I am pleased to join my colleague from Mississippi and friend, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, in introducing two outstanding young Mississippi attorneys, Kristi Johnson and Taylor McNeel, President Trump’s two nominees to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi,” Wicker said. “I recommend both of them most highly.”

“These bright, young lawyers are respected within the Mississippi legal community and are excellent choices to serve on the judiciary. I have no doubt both nominees will serve the American people well when they take a seat on the federal bench. I am thankful President Trump nominated qualified, impressive, and solid conservative candidates to these district court vacancies,” Hyde-Smith said. “Senator Wicker and I are proud to support Kristi Johnson and Taylor McNeel and urge the Judiciary Committee to approve their nominations expeditiously.”

Johnson, a native of Hurley, serves as the first Solicitor General of Mississippi. If confirmed, she would also be the Southern District of Mississippi’s first female jurist.

Johnson earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi and a law degree from Mississippi College, where she served as executive editor of the Mississippi College Law Review. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable Sharion Aycock with the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Mississippi and for the Honorable Leslie H. Southwick with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Johnson has also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Mississippi, an adjunct professor at Mississippi College, and as Treasurer and Secretary of the Mississippi Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Committed to excellence from an early age, McNeel was an Eagle Scout, student body president, and an all-state quarterback in high school. At the University of Mississippi, he was elected senior class president and was a member of the football team for two seasons. He graduated from law school at Ole Miss in 2008.

McNeel is a partner in the law firm of Brunini, Grantham, Grower, and Hewes, where he heads the Mississippi Gulf Coast office and has led a number of cases before the Mississippi Supreme Court, Mississippi Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

McNeel is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Pascagoula and the Harrison County Bar Association. Additionally, he has held a number of leadership positions in the Mississippi Bar Association.

Press Release

9/9/2020