For decades, Sen. Thad Cochran and former Sen. Trent Lott, both conservative Republicans, helped pick the judges that sit on federal courts in Mississippi. But now, Mississippi’s Democrats will influence the federal judiciary, reports the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. President-elect Barack Obama is likely to ask Reps. Gene Taylor, Travis Childers and Bennie Thompson for lists of potential candidates. Thompson’s chief of staff Lanier Avant said the trio of Democratic House members will become an “echo chamber as well as a springboard” for nominees.
There is only one vacancy on the federal bench in Mississippi. In June, Bush selected Meridian lawyer Richard Barry to replace retired Judge William Barbour Jr. on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in Jackson. But the Senate did not act on Barry’s nomination. Obama is expected to choose his own nominee. Other changes brought by the Obama administration could be felt in Mississippi’s U.S. attorneys’ offices. Incoming presidents usually ask for the resignations of at least some of the U.S. attorneys installed by a previous administration.