Scott Colom has been recommended as judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi.
U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson (D, Mississippi) has sent a letter to President Joe Biden recommending Colom, a Columbus native currently serving as District Attorney for the 16th Circuit Court District.
If Biden approves the recommendation, the U.S. Senate will hold a confirmation hearing to consider the nomination.
Cedric Watson, Thompson’s press secretary, on Monday confirmed Thompson’s recommendation to the President.
The judgeship is open following the departure of Judge Michael P. Mills, who retired on Nov. 1 after 20 years in the position at age 65. The judge presides over the U.S. District Court in Oxford.
“I’m honored that Congressman Thompson would think of me for this position. I’m honored to have his support,” Colom said. “Obviously, it’s a great honor. As excited as I am for this opportunity, I have to also say that I love being district attorney and I’ll always appreciate the faith the voters put in me as their district attorney.”
A graduate of Columbus High School, Millsaps College and the University of Wisconsin School of Law, Colom, 38, was appointed the youngest (age 28) and first Black justice court judge in Lowndes County history in 2011 and was appointed municipal court judge in 2012.
After becoming the city’s first Black prosecutor in Columbus in 2012, Colom ran for District Attorney in 2015, defeating Forrest Allgood, who had held the position since 1989. Colom was re-elected in 2019. Colom is the first elected Black District Attorney in District 16.
There are currently 77 vacancies in the federal courts with 26 pending nominees awaiting Senate confirmation. There is no set time-table for the confirmation process. According to a list of the vacancies on uscourts.gov, some judgeships have been open as long as five years.
Colom’s term as district attorney expires Dec. 31, 2023. Lowndes County Circuit Clerk Teresa Barksdale said that if there are more than 90 days left on a term at the time it becomes vacant, a special election is required to fill the vacancy.
Colom said if he is elevated to the federal bench, he plans to continue living in Columbus. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District regularly meets in Oxford and Aberdeen, although the current Aberdeen court is closed for repairs.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]