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Mississippi Supreme Court Lone Black Justice Nominated To US Court Of Appeals

WASHINGTON – President Obama has nominated James E. Graves, Jr.  to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 

 

“Throughout his career James E. Graves has shown unwavering integrity and an outstanding commitment to public service,” said President Obama.  “I am proud to nominate him to serve on the United States Court of Appeals.”

 

James E. Graves, Jr.:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

James E. Graves, Jr. is a distinguished and experienced Mississippi jurist, who was an attorney in private practice and public service before taking the bench. The only African-American currently serving on the Mississippi Supreme Court, Justice Graves takes a keen interest in the administration of his state’s court system, and has been active in national, state and local bar associations. 

 

Justice Graves has served as a judge in the Mississippi court system since 1991, sitting for ten years on the Hinds County Circuit Court and, since 2001, on Mississippi’s highest court first as an Associate Justice and currently as a Presiding Justice.  Justice Graves began his legal career in 1980 as a staff attorney at Central Mississippi Legal Services.  At that time he also began his 17 years of service as an Adjunct Professor at Jackson State University, teaching in the Departments of Mass Communications, Political Science, and Public Policy & Administration.  After three years at Legal Services, Justice Graves entered private practice, focusing primarily on civil matters in state and federal court.  From 1986 to 1990, he joined the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General, working as a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Human Services and Health Law divisions.  He then served in the Mississippi Department of Human Services as the Director of the Division of Child Support Enforcement until his appointment to the Hinds County Circuit Court in 1991.

 

In addition to his legal work and teaching career, Justice Graves has been very active in local and national bar associations.  Justice Graves is currently a Fellow of the Mississippi State Bar, and has served on a variety of committees of the National Conference of State Trial Judges, working on issues of concern common to state judges. He also serves his state’s court system as the current Chair of the Mississippi Supreme Court Rules Committee on Criminal Practice and Procedure. He formerly served as Chair of the Mississippi Supreme Court Committee on Administrative and Related Matters, the Supreme Court’s Emergency Preparedness Committee, and Public Defender’s Task Force, among others.

 

A Mississippi native, Justice Graves received his B.A. from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi in 1975, and went on to earn his J.D. from Syracuse University in 1980, and a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse in 1981. 

 

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