President Trump announces nominee for only open U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacancy

On March 30, President Donald Trump (R) announced his intent to nominate Judge Cory Wilson to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Wilson was previously nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 8 but has not been voted out of committee as of the new appointment.

Currently, Judge E. Grady Jolly’s former seat on the 5th Circuit is the only vacancy on a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal. Jolly assumed senior status on October 3, 2017. The last time this occurred was in July 1984, when Judge John Butzner’s seat on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals was the only vacancy.

Wilson is a judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals. He joined the court in 2019 after being appointed by Governor Phil Bryant (R). Before joining the state court of appeals, Wilson was a Republican representative of District 73 in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Wilson graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s of business administration (B.B.A.) from the University of Mississippi in 1992. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1995. During his legal studies, Wilson served on the Yale Law Journal.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is one of 13 U.S. courts of appeal. They are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal courts. The 5th Circuit has jurisdiction over the U.S. District Courts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

The court has 17 authorized posts. Eleven of the 16 current judges were appointed by Republican presidents. Five judges were appointed by Democratic presidents. President Trump nominated five of the 16 current judges.

There are two upcoming Court of Appeals vacancies. Andrew Brasher was already confirmed to succeed Judge Ed Carnes on the 11th Circuit. Carnes is expected to assume senior status on June 30. Judge Thomas Griffith announced he would retire from the District of Columbia Circuit on September 1. There is no nominee pending for Griffith’s seat.

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About the author

Sara Reynolds

Sara Reynolds is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at sara.reynolds@ballotpedia.org

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