In August I posted about a Clarion-Ledger article discussing Governor Barbour’s failure to appoint a single African-American judge to the state court judiciary since taking office in 2004. According to this new article in the Jackson Advocate, Barbour’s record in minority appointments to the state judiciary is now 0-24. To put it in perspective, if Barbour’s next appointment is African-American it will raise his batting average for minority appointments from 0% to 4%.
The African-American population in Mississippi is 37%. In order for Barbour to raise his appointment batting average to over 37%, he will need to appoint fifteen African-Americans in a row without a single white. Needles to say, that is not going to happen.
There are currently two open positions in Mississippi where Barbour will make an appointment: Judge DeLaughter’s seat in Hinds County Circuit Court and the late Judge Middleton’s seat in the Chancery Court for the Seventeenth District (Claiborne, Jefferson, Adams and Wilkinson counties). Appoint two African-Americans here and Barbour can raise his average to 7.6%. While 2 out of 26 is still ridiculously low, it would not have the same ring as zero.
It does not take a rocket scientist to see that Barbour is positioning himself for a presidential run. But his record on minority judicial appointments will be fodder for those voices, many from within conservative circles, who say that a white Mississippian cannot be elected president. While I disagree with that general statement, I do agree that a white Mississippian who can be portrayed as stuck in the 1960′s cannot be elected president.
I’m not a big Haley Barbour fan, but it would be pretty cool to see a Mississippian president. Governor Barbour has some work to do on his minority appointments if it’s going to be President Barbour.