Mississippi’s two U.S. senators have been non-committal on whether they will support Lowndes County District Attorney Scott Colom’s nomination as a federal judge.
The White House has announced Colom’s nomination to the U.S. District Court to fill the spot vacated by Michael Mills, who has taken senior status. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal first reported the nomination by President Joe Biden.
The objection to Colom by the state’s two U.S. senators could doom his nomination under long-standing Senate traditions.
In an emailed response to Mississippi Today, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker said, “Judge Michael Mills has left big shoes to fill. I look forward to speaking with District Attorney Colom about his nomination for this important vacancy.”
Mississippi’s junior U.S. senator, Cindy Hyde-Smith, has not publicly commented on the nomination.
Appointments to the federal judiciary, a lifetime appointment, require Senate confirmation.
It is customary for an individual senator from the home state of the judicial nominee to be able to block the Senate nomination through a so-called “blue-slip process.” It is uncertain whether Hyde-Smith or Wicker, both Republicans, would blue-slip Colom, who was appointed by the Democratic Biden.
Colom, a Columbus resident, has been the district attorney for the 16th Judicial District, which consists of Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Noxubee and Clay counties, since 2016. He previously worked for the Mississippi Center for Justice and was a municipal court judge.
The other northern district judges are Debra Brown and Sharion Aycock. When appointed by former President Obama, Brown became the state’s first female African American chief federal judge. Colom would become the second Black judge in the state’s Northern District if he is confirmed.
Biden has yet to announce his nomination for U.S. attorney for the northern district of Mississippi. In September, Biden nominated Todd Gee to serve as U.S. attorney for the southern district of Mississippi, a post that has been vacant since President Trump appointee Mike Hurst resigned in January 2021.