Senate panel OKs Adams for U.S. attorney

WASHINGTON – Felicia Adams’ nomination to be North Mississippi’s next U.S. attorney won 10-0 approval Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The 51-year-old Holly Springs native must win a majority of the U.S. Senate to take the Oxford-based office vacated by Bush appointee James Greenlee early in 2010.
If approved, she will become the state’s first female in the post.
It wasn’t immediately clear when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will schedule her vote by the full membership, although the panel’s chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said right after the vote that he hoped it will happen soon.
After the vote, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said he was pleased Adams’ nomination “has moved forward.”
“I hope that the full Senate will soon be able to consider and vote on her nomination.”
The U.S. attorney is the government’s top lawyer in a specific jurisdiction and oversees a staff of attorneys working on criminal and civil cases on behalf of the government.
Adams is the top assistant U.S. attorney in Jackson’s Southern District, where she’s worked since early 2000. Before that, she was an assistant U.S. attorney in Oxford.
The Northern District is without a presidentially appointed U.S. attorney since Greenlee’s departure.
Mississippi is one of the last states to get a new U.S. attorney nomination.
Why it’s taken so long to get a replacement for Greenlee isn’t immediately clear, but some political observers say Republican-leaning Mississippi is not high on Democratic President Barack Obama’s political agenda.
The Southern District in Jackson continues without a nominee, and career lawyer John Dowdy is its acting chief.
In Oxford, interim leadership has come from assistants Bill Martin and now John Marshall Alexander from appointments by the District Court.
Adams earned her bachelor of science in 1981 from Jackson State University and her law degree in 1984 from the University of Mississippi. Before becoming an assistant U.S. attorney in 1989, she was legal counsel to Gov. Ray Mabus and a special assistant attorney general.
Until the process is complete, the U.S. Department of Justice has advised Adams not to speak publicly about herself or her nomination.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal