By Patsy R. Brumfield
Jackson attorney Debra H. Brown may get her vote Thursday to fill a north Mississippi federal judgeship, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s new calendar shows.
The panel’s website shows an Aug. 1 executive business meeting to vote on Brown’s nomination to fill the seat vacated in January 2012 by the sudden death of Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr. of Cleveland.
If approved, Brown’s nomination will go for a vote by the full Senate.
President Barack Obama nominated Brown to the Greenville-based judgeship in May. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be Mississippi’s first black female federal judge.
Sens. Thad Cochran of Oxford and Roger Wicker of Tupelo have voiced strong support for her to win the lifetime appointment.
Brown’s nomination was listed on last week’s Judiciary meeting agenda, but the vote was delayed, which Senate observers say is not unusual to allow more time for comment.
Judiciary Committee members will convene at 8:30 a.m. CDT in the Dirksen Senate Office Building to consider Brown, along with two other judicial nominations.
Brown, in her 40s, holds an architecture degree from Mississippi State University and her law degree from the University of Mississippi.
During her Senate nomination hearing, she admitted she had little experience with criminal law proceedings because of her career emphasis on civil practice. She promised that if she were confirmed, she immediately would undertake to learn what she needed to be an effective judge over all kinds of cases.
The American Bar Association rated Brown “qualified” to be a federal judge. Its highest recommendation is “well qualified.”