By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Felicia C. Adams, Mississippi’s first female U.S. attorney, is under consideration for a lifetime federal judgeship to replace W. Allen Pepper Jr., who died suddenly last January.
Pepper held court in Greenville over the Delta and Greenville divisions. Only the president, with U.S. Senate approval, can fill a federal court vacancy.
“She’s being reviewed by a 5th Circuit (Court of Appeals) selection committee,” said someone close to the process, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The committee scrutinizes suggested judicial candidates with the American Bar Association and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Adams had no comment to questions about the consideration.
Questions about Adams’ vetting also went unanswered to the Justice Department.
Adams, a 52-year-old Holly Springs native, is the state’s first female U.S. attorney, which is the federal governments top lawyer in a given region and oversees a staff of attorneys and their work on criminal and civil cases for the government. She is not the first African American U.S. attorney.
Federal judges serve for life and cannot be replaced until they retire or otherwise leave the bench.
If confirmed, Adams would be the state’s first female African American federal judge.
“I’ve heard it rumored and I think it’s probably true,” said an Oxford attorney with experience in the federal courthouse.
Another person with similar credentials also confirmed he was told that Adams is in the early stages of “vetting” for the judge’s seat.
Each asked not to be identified.
Mississippi’s U.S. senators, both Republicans, must be involved in the selection process, too, because traditionally they make the officials suggestions to the president, then support the nominee through votes in the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor.
Spokesmen for Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker did not respond to Daily Journal questions about a possible Adams nomination.
Read more in Friday’s Daily Journal.