By Joe Rutherford
WASHINGTON – Debra M. Brown won U.S. Senate confirmation without opposition Monday as a federal judge in the Northern District of Mississippi.
The Yazoo City native will become the first black female federal judge in Mississippi history.
Brown, nominated by President Barack Obama, was strongly endorsed on the Senate floor by Republican U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, as well as Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
The Senate voted 90-0 for her confirmation.
Brown, who holds a degree in architecture from Mississippi State University and a law degree from the University of Mississippi, is a member of the Wise, Carter, Child and Caraway law firm in Jackson. She will take the seat in the Northern District held by the late Judge Allen Pepper, who died in 2012.
Like Pepper, Brown will work out of the federal courthouse in Greenville.
Wicker, in his remarks before the Senate vote, said he looks forward to Brown, as a judge, becoming a chief advocate for a new federal courthouse in Greenville because the structure in use now is badly dilapidated and inadequate.
“I am thrilled and honored to be part of this historic moment for Mississippi,” Wicker said. “Ms. Brown is a proven trailblazer. Our country needs judges who have a record of professional excellence, integrity, and public service. I am confident her service will be good for our nation, our state and especially good for the city of Greenville, where she will preside.”
Said Cochran: “I am confident Debra Brown will serve with distinction … The Senate vote is recognition of her qualifications to serve as a member of the federal judiciary.”
Brown’s lifetime appointment carries a salary of $174,000 per year.
The Northern District is headquartered in Oxford, and has courthouses in Aberdeen, Oxford and Greenville. Judge Mike Mills, a Fulton native, is the district’s senior judge.
Judge Sharion Aycock of Fulton, who also is a member of the court in the Northern District, was the first woman confirmed in either of Mississippi’s two federal districts.