Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Sid Salter: Southwick Rules on Law, not Partisan Politics

Writing about another case earlier this year, readers will remember encountering the name of 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James C. Ho of Texas. Ho filed a dissent from a majority ruling on the appeal of a 2014 Mississippi election scandal that resulted in a Madison County attorney taking his own life – arguing that the dispute was a First Amendment matter.

Ho, nominated to the federal bench by former President Donald Trump in 2017, was included on the short list of Supreme Court nominees in 2020 when Trump named current Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the nation’s highest court.

Ho’s friends and supporters tout his controversial rulings and writings as intellectual engagement with relevant ideas. Opponents accuse Ho of seeking to maintain a strong position on a short list of potential Supreme Court nominees should Trump be re-elected to the White House in 2024.

The latest case that thrust Judge Ho into the headlines is one involving Louisiana’s congressional districts and what critics say is an obvious ploy to keep Louisiana Republicans in power. The long-running legal challenge by voting rights plaintiffs alleges that Louisiana’s congressional districts were drawn as a racist gerrymander resulting in only one majority-Black district.

In 2022, a federal trial court ruled in favor of the voting rights plaintiffs in the case known as Robinson v. Ardoin and held that “the appropriate remedy in this context is a remedial congressional redistricting plan that includes an additional majority-Black congressional district.” A second majority-Black congressional district would almost certainly elect a Democrat to office.

Before the trial court’s order took effect, the Supreme Court intervened in the order’s enforcement until the high court ruled in a similar case on similar issues in Alabama in the Allen v. Milligan case – another case alleging racial gerrymandering in congressional districting.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled the Alabama congressional districting maps invalid and ordered a new map drawn to create a second majority Black district – and lifted the prior hold on the Robinson v. Ardoin case in Louisiana. The Louisiana trial judge set a new trial date in that case for Oct. 3.

Inexplicably, Judge Ho and Judge Edith Jones issued an order to the trial court to cancel the scheduled Oct. 3 hearing in a delaying action that relied on a writ of mandamus – which many legal scholars questioned as not remotely applicable in the Robinson case. However, critics believed Ho and Jones sought to delay the process long enough for Louisiana’s existing maps to be used for the 2024 elections.

The perceived attempt by Ho and Jones to delay the case was seen as particularly bizarre given the fact that a different three-judge panel from their same 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was already scheduled to review the case to determine if the trial court correctly decided the matter.

That three-judge panel included Judge Carolyn King of Texas, Judge Jennifer Elrod of Texas, and Judge Leslie Southwick of Mississippi ruled exactly that. Legal analysts still see paths for the Robinson case to be delayed by Louisiana state officials to give the Louisiana Legislature sufficient time to draw new congressional lines that are not in conflict with racial gerrymandering laws.

The fact that Southwick, nominated to the court by former President George W. Bush, voted to follow the law regardless of partisan political impact should be of no real surprise to Mississippians. Southwick literally walked across Mississippi during a state judicial campaign built on the notion of fair and honest enforcement of the law.

But the Fifth Circuit is now America’s most conservative court and Trump appointed six of the current judges out of 17 active judges and nine senior status judges. With Trump still leading Republican presidential primary opinion polls heading into the 2024 election cycle, the “Trumpiest Court in America” will continue to draw attention from Republicans and Democrats alike.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

This sounds more like whining than journalism.

Anonymous said...

Cry me a river-

Anonymous said...

The fact that the President who appointed them is so crucial to the decision making process, especially for unelected lifetime appointments, flies in the face of our notion of "blind justice". Federal judges should have no use for politics. Presidents know otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Sid Salter has turned 100% liberal. Does not even try anymore to be impartial. could provide a 100 examples of his recent writings and statements but why bother.

Anonymous said...

There is no judge like an Obama judge.

Anonymous said...

Wow Sid pointed out that a judge followed the law and now he’s a bleeding heart liberal. As long as we can’t see a different point a view and a fair ruling for what they are, you will always be last.

Anonymous said...

Ho got overturned, La has to draw a new district by Jan. 15, 2024. They will litigate it all the way back to the SC, but it looks like to 2 Democrats for La very soon.

Anonymous said...

Next article (not)-the bizarre district designed to keep good ole Benny on the throne

Anonymous said...

Judge Ho was the dissenting opinion in the Mayfield case. That case has now been appealed to the SCOTUS. The facts remain that the poor choices to show the integrity of a former U.S. Senator in MS; while needing to be revealed was not moral or ethical and was a misdemeanor at the least. Was Mayfield guilty? Maybe. Maybe not. If the reigning political party in MS champions integrity, morality and justice it seems strange since they chose to violate all of these in getting a former U.S Senator elected in a runoff. In fact a former U.S. representative from MIssissippi who was traveling with the former U.S. Senator to campaign, withdrew from that position due to the questionable ethics. Also what could come to light if this case is considered by SCOTUS is the actions of a certain mayor and a certain current U.S. representative who is a former district attorney. The facts are the facts. MS politics needs a good bar of p&g soap and trip to the creek.

Anonymous said...

6:03 PM has a f'd up sense of integrity, morality and justice if they think the LEO's and justice system should not have prosecuted anyone in the disgusting invasion of Mrs. Cochran's privacy for a silly and meaningless point that the the perennial loser from down south mistakenly thought was a deal changer in the runoff. What did the perp do while in Mrs. Cochran's bedroom? What did Mayfield want him to do? Was she touched at all? Did they need to pose her? Maybe Mayfield had the answers to those questions and took the coward's way out by not facing justice. Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know. I'm just asking questions about a disgusting political episode in Mississippi's history. Thankfully, due to the diligence of LEO's and the justice system in Mississippi justice was served to everyone, except for Mayfield. Mayfield, and Mayfield alone, is responsible for that result.

Anonymous said...

Sid say, "I took a semester of Bid'ness Law my junior year at Forest High School. I know the law a lot better than some Ho."

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS