By Patsy R. Brumfield
WASHINGTON – Jackson attorney Debra Brown is one step away from becoming Mississippi’s first black female federal judge.
This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved her May nomination by President Obama to the Greenville-based judgeship vacated in January 2012 by the sudden death of Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr.
Brown’s approval came on a voice vote, along with two other district court judgeships.
She must gain approval from the full Senate before assuming the life-time post.
Nomination-watcher Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said it’s unlikely the Senate will take up Brown’s nomination until after it returns from the August recess, which begins today.
The House is due to recess Friday.
Brown, in her late 40s, holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Mississippi State University and her law degree from the University of Mississippi.
The Yazoo City native won a “qualified” ranking by the American Bar Association. Its top score is “well qualified.” Her legal practice has focused only on civil law but she promised the committee weeks ago during her nomination hearing that she would undertake to immerse herself in legal areas she now lacks experience
U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock of Tupelo, who presides on Aberdeen, is the state’s first female district federal judge.
• Read more in Friday’s Daily Journal.