The Clarion-Ledger, 11/17/8

Mississippi’s federal judiciary could undergo a dramatic change under an Obama administration.

For decades, Sen. Thad Cochran and former Sen. Trent Lott, both conservative Republicans, helped pick the judges that sit on federal courts in Mississippi.

Some of their choices proved controversial to Senate Democrats who blocked confirmation of Jackson lawyer Mike Wallace and retired Judge Charles Pickering. A frustrated President Bush gave Pickering a one-year recess appointment. Wallace was forced to withdraw his candidacy.

But now, Mississippi’s Democrats will influence the federal judiciary. President-elect Barack Obama is likely to ask Reps. Gene Taylor, Travis Childers and Bennie Thompson for lists of potential candidates.