Geoff Pender’s article on the Clarion-Ledger’s website Thursday confirmed that the recent nominations to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals did not include a nomination for the seat held by the retired Judge Grady Jolly. From the article:

On Thursday, the White House sent the Engelhardt nomination to the Senate listed as a replacement for Clement, not Jolly, an indication Mississippi’s seat remains open.

Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker this week in a joint statement said they are continuing to work with the Trump Administration on a nominee — a choice over which a state’s senators usually have a large say as nominees require Senate confirmation….

The Senators’ offices have not explained why Mississippi does not have a nominee yet when picks from other states have already been named.

Based on the current publicly available information, it appears that Mississippi is favored to retain Judge Jolly’s seat.

But it’s also my understanding that there’s no guarantee. I will remain worried until President Trump nominates a Mississippian for the seat. The reasons for my concern are:

  • Trump is a wing-nut;
  • the Republican Party is divided;
  • Senators Cochran and Wicker may or may not be aligned with the President;
  • Trump is a wing-nut;
  • Texas is an obvious threat to Mississippi on federal judicial appointments;
  • it’s politics; and
  • see points 1 and 4 above.

There was speculation in comments that Governor Bryant and the Senators might not be on the same page as far as who is appointed. A 5th Circuit seat is a plumb. I’m sure there is some interesting maneuvering going on behind the scenes.