The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to consider two of President Barack Obama’s U.S. Attorney nominees next week.
The panel is scheduled to vote on the nominations of Felicia Adams for the Northern District of Mississippi and Ronald Sharpe for the Virgin Islands at its June 9 meeting.
Obama has moved cautiously to fill U.S. Attorney jobs, avoiding controversy and seeking consensus. With Congress split by partisan rancor, that’s meant he still hasn’t filled some slots – including both Mississippi U.S. Attorney jobs – halfway through his term.
Adams, whom Obama nominated March 2, has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Mississippi since 2000. She currently serves as the acting First Assistant U.S., the no. 2 position in the Southern District of Mississippi U.S. Attorney’s Office. Adams previously worked at the Northern District of Mississippi U.S. Attorney’s Office from 1989 to 2000.
She would replace John Marshall Alexander, who has led the Oxford-based U.S. Attorney’s office since December. Alexander succeeded Bill Martin, who took the helm of the office after U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee, a George W. Bush appointee, resigned in January 2009.
Adams emerged as a candidate for the post in March 2010, several months after Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who took the lead on selecting U.S. Attorney candidates for Mississippi’s congressional Democrats, formally recommended criminal defense lawyer Christi McCoy for the job.
McCoy’s connection to a local private investigator, who was probed for his billing practices, dogged her candidacy. The Northern District U.S. Attorney’s Office, which handed the case, dropped its investigation last year, clearing McCoy.
Sharpe, whom Obama nominated March 10, has served as the interim U.S. Attorney in the Virgin Islands since September 2009. He previously worked in the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office from 1995 to 2009, rising to First Assistant U.S. Attorney. The Virgin Islands hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney since October 2008, when Anthony Jenkins resigned.
Adams and Sharpe would be the first U.S. Attorney nominees to receive Senate Judiciary Committee votes during this Congress. The panel has yet to schedule votes for three other U.S. Attorney nominees.
The Senate confirmed 76 of Obama’s U.S. Attorneys during the last Congress. There are 93 U.S. Attorney posts across the nation.