In state’s with one or two Democratic Senators, those politicans usually have quite a say in political appointees, such as U.S. Attorney’s. However, the process is a little different in state’s like Mississippi where Republicans occupy both Senate seats.
Southern District U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton recently retired, but Northern District U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee is still on the job. It will be interesting to see how fast Barack Obama acts in firing Republican U.S. Attorney’s throughout the country, including Greenlee. But before the Obama Administration gets involved with the possible political backlash, they have the Southern District opening.
While the actual people Obama may appoint are not known for sure, there are a couple facts that appear pretty evident as the president moves forward.
The first is that Bennie Thompson will be the most influential person is making these decisions. In Brian Perry’s column he did mention that the state’s three Democratic Congressmen would all have a say along with the lone Democrat statewide office holder, AG Jim Hood, Speaker of the House Billy McCoy and State Chairman Jamie Franks. Of the three Congressmen, Gene Taylor is the most senior, but also the most conservative. I think it’s fair to say that Thompson and Barack Obama are aligned ideologically, especially when it comes to the type of person that should fill this role.
Sid Salter put it bluntly in a February column when talking about who will be the point man in making these decisions:
Clearly, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson will be the key Mississippian who will sign off on the vast majority of federal patronage jobs in the administration of President Barack Obama. Thompson’s chief of staff, Lanier Avant, made that clear in a Jan. 15 interview.
As a result, the next U.S. attorney’s from Mississippi will come from the same ideology as Thompson- liberal. For more clarification, look at the agenda of Thompson, the NAACP, or the Legislative Black Caucus. Also, take a look at what Avant told Salter:
I think Congressman Thompson is looking for a more progressive government, particularly in terms of the federal judiciary as it relates to the federal district courts and the federal marshals.
And so is Barack Obama.
And here is what Jamie Franks told Brian Perry:
Franks said Republicans should remember that the Democrats won, and any federal judge nominees are not going to look like Northern District Court Judges Mike Mills or Sharion Aycock, but more like attorney Carlton Reeves.
And an underlying point is that the Democrats want to appoint a minority. Meaning, a woman and/ or an African-American. So far, the names mentioned have fit one or both of those descriptions and Patsy Brumfield’s column was plainly titled: Will Mississippi get its first female U.S. attorney?
Read more about the process in choosing the next U.S. Attorney’s from Mississippi at Majority In Mississippi.