Doing What His Predecessor Couldn't, This Trump Nominee Just Rose to the Federal Bench

The judge was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He's become the 53rd Trump-appointed circuit judge that the Senate has confirmed.

By Angela Morris

Mississippi lawyer Cory Wilson will sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit after the Senate on Wednesday approved his nomination 52-48.

Wilson joins the Fifth Circuit—he’s the 53rd Trump-appointed circuit judge the Senate has confirmed—after serving as a judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

“I have known Judge Wilson for many years. His experience and legal knowledge make him an excellent choice to serve on the appellate court,” said Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., in a floor speech Tuesday. “I am also pleased a judge from Mississippi will mark a historic day as the 200th federal judge to be confirmed by the United States Senate during the Trump Administration.”

Wilson has a long history of government service in the judiciary, legislature and executive branch in Mississippi.
He was a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives for three years. He also used to work as a senior adviser and counsel in the Mississippi State Treasurer’s Office, and as a deputy secretary in the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office.

He earned his law degree from Yale Law School and went on to serve as a law clerk to Judge Emmett Ripley Cox of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Wilson also served a one-year stint in the U.S. Department of Defense as a White House fellow, where he was special assistant to then-Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld.

After Ozerden

President Donald Trump nominated Wilson to the Fifth Circuit on March 30 after Trump’s original nominee, Halil Suleyman “Sul” Ozerden, failed to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee. On June 11, the committee voted to pass 
Wilson’s nomination on to the full Senate.

“Given his professional and academic achievements and his strong reputation in Mississippi as a fair and impartial judge and a good and decent man, I am confident that Judge Wilson will serve the Fifth Circuit and our nation well as a circuit judge,” said a statement by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., after Wilson’s committee approval.

The American Bar Association’s federal judiciary committee deemed Wilson well-qualified for the Fifth Circuit.

While conservatives have backed Wilson, at least 19 civil rights groups opposed him. Democrats questioned him on his past criticism of the Affordable Care Act, and other things.

“If Judge Wilson were to have his way, the ACA would have been struck down by the Supreme Court,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., during Wilson’s committee vote. “He has expressed opposition to the rights of LGBTQ Americans. He has expressed opposition to women’s reproductive rights, to workers’ rights and commonsense gun safety measures.”

Wilson responded that his “Obamacare” comments came in his role as a state legislator, not a judge. Wilson said it wouldn’t impact any rulings if he was confirmed to the Fifth Circuit.