Trump nominates Mississippi judge for 5th US appeals court

March 30, 2020 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals is being nominated to serve on a federal appeals court that handles cases for Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, the White House announced Monday.

Cory Wilson joined the 10-member state court in February 2019 after being appointed by then-Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican. Before that, Wilson was a first-term Republican member of the Mississippi House.

President Donald Trump announced in August that he was nominating Wilson to become a federal district judge in southern Mississippi. The state’s two Republican U.S. senators, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, introduced Wilson to the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, but the committee had not yet acted on the nomination.


The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considered one of the most conservative appeals courts in the nation.

“Judge Wilson’s performance in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year confirmed what we already knew — he is a smart, thoughtful, conservative jurist who will follow the rule of law,” Wicker said in a statement Monday. “Given his academic and professional achievements, I am sure that Judge Wilson would serve the court well.”

Hyde-Smith said she has known Wilson many years and considers him well qualified.

“The elevation of Judge Cory Wilson’s nomination to the Circuit Court of Appeals reflects President Trump’s confidence in Cory’s conservative judicial philosophy, legal knowledge, academic and public service,” Hyde-Smith said in a statement.

Wilson earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi and his law degree from Yale University, where he worked on the Yale Law Journal. He was a law clerk to Judge Emmett Ripley Cox of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

As the president switches Wilson’s nomination to a different court, the White House said Monday that Trump is also nominating another attorney to fill the district judgeship in southern Mississippi. Kristi Haskins Johnson is a former assistant U.S. attorney for southern Mississippi. Earlier this year, she was named solicitor general for the state of Mississippi.

If confirmed, she would be the first woman to serve as a federal judge in the district that encompasses the southern half of the state.

Johnson earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi and a law degree from Mississippi College, where she was executive editor of the Mississippi College Law Review. She was U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock in northern Mississippi and for Judge Leslie H. Southwick of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Wicker and Hyde-Smith also praised Johnson and said they will work for her confirmation.