A native and current resident of Jackson, William Lowe “Bill” Waller Jr. was a longtime member of the Mississippi Supreme Court. He retired from the court in January 2019 after 21 years, the last 10 spent as chief justice. This run for governor marks a shift in his political career. Judicial elections are officially nonpartisan, but the Mississippi Republican Party endorsed Waller in each of his three Supreme Court bids.
Waller is the son of former Mississippi Gov. William “Bill” Waller Sr. and Carroll Waller, the former first lady of Mississippi.
Waller presided over many high-profile cases while on the Mississippi Supreme Court. These included the 2017 lawsuit against the state filed by former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove that resulted in a unanimous decision that the state Legislature was not required to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Another was the 2012 decision that upheld the governor’s sole authority to issue pardons. Waller dissented in that case, which was filed by Attorney General Jim Hood after former Gov. Haley Barbour issued pardons to nearly 200 felons during his last days in office.
Prior to his election to the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1996, Waller practiced law with the firm of Waller and Waller in Jackson for over 20 years and served as a municipal judge for the city of Jackson. Waller also served in the Mississippi Army National Guard as the commander of the 66th Troop Command, acquiring the rank of brigadier general.
Waller graduated from Murrah High School in 1970 and Mississippi State University in 1974. He received his law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1977. He and his wife, Charlotte, have three children and two grandchildren and are members of First Baptist Church Jackson.