18 months ago, when Barack Obama was elected President, democrats in Mississippi were riding sky high on the notion that they’d finally get two new US Attorneys. Dunn Lampton and Jim Greenlee had a great deal of success convicting corrupt judges and lawyers (much to the chagrin of the local Karl Rove conspiracy kook fringe types of which there are a few here locally). Many names for US Attorney in the north and south have been put through the grinder, but Mississippi remains one of just a handful of states that has had nobody officially recommended to Obama for confirmation.
According to Main Justice, as of 4/14 only Felicia Adams (currently AUSA in the Southern District) remains in the hunt for one of the two seats. And she doesn’t even seem to have been recommended to Obama at this point. Other reported candidates seem to have fallen by the wayside.
Whether you are a D or R, this is a big deal. Given our lack of ability to police our own in Mississippi, we have historically disproportionately depended on US Attorneys to help deal with matters like public corruption. Steady hands with a quality backgrounds are needed to fill those seats. There is certainly no shortage of quality lawyers in Mississippi who could handle these jobs, and it’s a bit of an affront to the legal community that this hasn’t gotten done. With confirmation usually a few months down the road from nomination, it may legitimately be year end before Mississippi can get someone confirmed even if nominees were settled on pretty quickly. We are now running up to the point where good people may not consider taking an appointment for what would effectively be only a two year term (as one would not think that a second Obama term would be a guarantee). That’s a big ask of someone to give up their entire law practice for just two years and assume all of the restrictions that a US Attorney takes on after stepping down.
The D insiders I have talked to are hopping mad at their DC delegation for dropping the ball on this. Now with midterms pending and two competitive MS congressional races and the inevitable injection of politics into every decision, it will be interesting to see how/if this plays out before November.