Judge Kristi Haskins Johnson of the Southern District, recites the oath of office during her formal investiture as a United States District Judge for Mississippi, Friday Aug. 19, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. The ceremony was initially delayed by COVID. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

The first woman judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi has joined the bench. 

A formal investiture ceremony was held last week for Judge Kristi Haskins Johnson of Brandon. 

“This truly was a lifelong dream of mine,” Johnson said about her appointment in a February 2021 article by her alma mater, the University of Mississippi. 

She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in Nov. 2020 by a 53 to 43 vote. 

Johnson previously worked as Mississippi’s first solicitor general. She also worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Jackson as an assistant U.S. attorney. 

From 2008 to 2010, Johnson clerked for Judge Sharion Aycock of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi — the state’s first woman federal district court judge. Johnson also clerked for Judge Leslie Southwick of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Elected officials including Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress, and Attorney General Lynn Fitch, the first woman in her role, praised Johnson after her Senate confirmation. 

“Judge Johnson, as you exercise your power, I pray that God will grant you wisdom, humility, compassion and courage. Congratulations!” Hyde-Smith wrote in a Friday tweet after she attended Johnson’s investiture ceremony. 

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Mina, a California native, covers the criminal justice system. Before joining Mississippi Today, she was a reporter for the Clarion Ledger and newspapers in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and USA Today.