RR: Obama’s Federal Appointment Process in Mississippi
Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

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.

Franks explained with no Democrat Senator to make these recommendations, the Obama administration delegated the state Democratic Party to lead the way.

Franks said he spoke with Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham on their method for choosing nominees (Alabama also has two Republican senators) and said he intended to use Alabama as a model. The Alabama Presidential Advisory Council consists of that state’s three Democratic congressmen, members of the State Democratic Executive Committee and Alabama’s DNC members. It announced all its recommendations in early January, even before Obama’s Inauguration.

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. When asked if Reeves was just a random example, Franks only laughed. Earlier in the program, Franks had mentioned that an opening on the Southern District Court would likely be filled by a minority or woman from Jackson. Reeves happens to be black and from Jackson.

Brian Perry
Neshoba Democrat
3/11/09