By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Felicia Collette Adams of Jackson is President Barack Obama’s choice for U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Mississippi.
Adams, current chief of the Southern District’s civil division, faces U.S. Senate confirmation before she can fill the vacancy that’s existed since Bush appointee James Greenlee retired more than a year ago.
“I think everybody will like her very much,” said John Hailman of Oxford, now retired as the Northern District’s chief of the criminal division.
Hailman, who worked with her during the 11 years she was assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District, spoke highly of her personal and professional skills – “a good brief writer, very pleasant.”
Adams was not available for comment when the announcement was made late Wednesday.
“Felicia Adams has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice throughout her career, and I am honored to nominate her to serve the people of Mississippi as U.S. attorney for the Northern District,” Obama said in a White House news release.
The U.S. attorney is the federal government’s chief lawyer in a geographic region and generally manages a staff of attorneys who oversee criminal and civil cases for the government.
Traditionally, the officeholder changes with new presidential administrations, but Mississippi is one of the last states to get attention from the Obama administration for this post.
Soon after Obama was elected, informed speculators saw Oxford attorney Christi R. McCoy getting the job. But her vetting apparently ran into trouble, reportedly with Greenlee’s help after McCoy represented former state Auditor Steve Patterson in the Scruggs judicial bribery scandal.
Also mentioned recently was state Sen. Gray Tollison of Oxford, but political observers say his contentious divorce may have produced negative consequences from influential former relatives.
Mississippi’s Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker welcomed the announcement about Adams.
“I am pleased the president has decided to submit a nominee for one of the two U.S. Attorney positions in Mississippi,” Cochran said.
The Southern District post is still vacant.
“I called Ms. Adams today to congratulate her on her selection and to pledge to do all that I can to see that her Senate confirmation process is undertaken in a timely and efficient manner,” Cochran said. “Her character and long tenure with the U.S. attorney’s offices in our state should bode well for her in this process.”
Wicker agreed, also noting the continued vacancy.
“Filling the two U.S. attorney vacancies should be a top priority, so I am glad to see President Obama nominate Ms. Adams to be U.S. attorney in the Northern District,” said Wicker. “Ms. Adams has many years of experience, and I will work to ensure she is considered without delay.”
Adams has worked in the Jackson office since 2000. Before beginning her federal justice career, she was legal counsel in 1988 and 1989 then-Gov. Ray Mabus, now the Navy secretary.
Adams earned a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University in 1981 and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1984.
Adams’ nomination still leaves vacant two of the four major federal justice positions in Mississippi that have awaited nominees since Obama took office in January 2009.
In addition to Southern U.S. attorney, still vacant is the U.S. marshal post in North Mississippi.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.