To avoid expending political capital over a federal district judge, a president will ask that state’s senators to provide a list of potential nominees. But President Barack Obama, a Democrat, faces two Republican Senators in Mississippi. This impacts not only federal judges, but other federal appointments on the state level including U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Marshals, Executive Director of USDA Rural Development and Executive Director of USDA Farm Service Agency.
[Jamie] Franks explained with no Democrat Senator to make these recommendations, the Obama administration delegated the state Democratic Party to lead the way.
In Mississippi, Franks explained a committee consisting of himself, Rep. Bennie Thompson, Rep. Travis Childers, Rep. Gene Taylor, Attorney General Jim Hood, and Speaker of the House Billy McCoy made recommendations and submitted names for Mississippi’s presidential appointments. He said judicial nominations would occur in the same manner.
Franks said Republicans should remember that the Democrats won, and any federal judge nominees are not going to look like Northern District Court Judges Mike Mills or Sharion Aycock, but more like attorney Carlton Reeves.
In November 2008, Thompson chief-of-staff Lanier Avant told The Clarion-Ledger the state’s three Democratic congressmen would be a “springboard” to suggest judicial nominees to Obama and last month he told The Sun-Herald that Thompson intended to give the president only one name as a recommendation for the Southern District U.S. Attorney.
Franks mentioned that after hearing various perspectives at the luncheon, he intends to consult with Mississippi’s Republican senators on judicial nominees, and that he would send a letter to Sens. Cochran and Wicker to get their input.