The United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi is a federal court in the Fifth Circuit. It has jurisdiction over 16 counties in northern Mississippi and sits in Oxford, Mississippi. The court hears civil and criminal cases involving federal law, including civil rights cases, bankruptcy and Social Security appeals, and immigration cases. The court also has jurisdiction over certain appeals from state court. The court is staffed by one judge, appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi

United States federal district court in Mississippi
Appeals to Fifth Circuit Established June 18, 1838 Judges 3 Chief Judge Debra M. Brown Officers of the court U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner (acting) U.S. Marshal Daniel McKittrick

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi (in case citations, N.D. Miss.) is a federal court in the Fifth Circuit with facilities in Aberdeen, Greenville, and Oxford.

Appeals from cases brought in the Northern District of Mississippi are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. As of March 1, 2021[update] the Acting United States Attorney is Clay Joyner.


The northern district comprises three divisions.

  1. The Aberdeen Division comprises the counties of Alcorn, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Monroe, Oktibbeha, Prentiss, Tishomingo, Webster and Winston.
    The court for the Aberdeen Division is held at Aberdeen, Ackerman and Corinth.
  2. The Oxford Division comprises the counties of Benton, Calhoun, DeSoto, Lafayette, Marshall, Panola, Pontotoc, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tippah, Tunica, Union and Yalobusha.
    The court for the Oxford Division is held at Oxford.
  3. The Greenville Division comprises the counties of Attala, Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, Grenada, Humphreys, Leflore, Montgomery, Sunflower and Washington.
    The court for the Greenville Division is held at Clarksdale, Cleveland and Greenville.

Current judges

As of November 1, 2021[update]:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
16 Chief Judge Debra M. Brown Greenville 1963 2013–present 2021–present Obama
15 District Judge Sharion Aycock Aberdeen 1955 2007–present 2014–2021 G.W. Bush
17 District Judge vacant
11 Senior Judge Neal Brooks Biggers Jr. Oxford 1935 1984–2000 1998–2000 2000–present Reagan
12 Senior Judge Glen H. Davidson Aberdeen 1941 1985–2007 2000–2007 2007–present Reagan
14 Senior Judge Michael P. Mills Oxford 1956 2001–2021 2007–2014 2021–present G.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Prior judge’s duty station Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
3 Oxford Michael P. Mills Senior status November 1, 2021

Former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 George Adams MS 1784–1844 1838 Jackson/Operation of law resignation
2 Samuel J. Gholson MS 1808–1883 1839–1861 Van Buren resignation
3 Robert Andrews Hill MS 1811–1900 1866–1891 A. Johnson retirement
4 Henry Clay Niles MS 1850–1918 1891–1918 B. Harrison death
5 Edwin R. Holmes MS 1878–1961 1918–1929 Wilson seat abolished
6 Elijah Allen Cox MS 1887–1974 1929–1957 1957–1974 Coolidge death
7 Claude Feemster Clayton MS 1909–1969 1958–1967 1966–1967 Eisenhower elevation to 5th Cir.
8 William Colbert Keady MS 1913–1989 1968–1983 1968–1982 1983–1989 L. Johnson death
9 Orma Rinehart Smith MS 1904–1982 1968–1978 1978–1982 L. Johnson death
10 Lyonel Thomas Senter Jr. MS 1933–2011 1979–1998 1982–1998 1998–2011 Carter death
13 W. Allen Pepper Jr. MS 1941–2012 1999–2012 Clinton death

Chief judges

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the district court judges. To be chief, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position.

When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

Succession of seats

Seat 1
Seat reassigned from District of Mississippi on June 18, 1838 by 5 Stat. 247 (concurrent with Southern District)
Adams 1838
Gholson 1839–1861
Hill 1866–1891
Niles 1892–1918
Holmes 1918–1929
Seat reassigned solely to Southern District on March 1, 1929 by 45 Stat. 1422
Seat 2
Seat established on March 1, 1929 by 45 Stat. 1422
Cox 1929–1957
Clayton 1958–1967
Smith 1968–1978
Senter, Jr. 1979–1998
Pepper, Jr. 1999–2012
Brown 2013–present
Seat 3
Seat established on March 18, 1966 by 80 Stat. 75
Keady 1968–1983
Biggers, Jr. 1984–2000
Mills 2001–2021
vacant 2021–present
Seat 4
Seat established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Davidson 1985–2007
Aycock 2007–present

See also


Further reading

  • David M. Hargrove, Mississippi’s Federal Courts: A History. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2019.

External links

Active district judges of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
E. Louisiana M. Louisiana W. Louisiana N. Mississippi
S. Mississippi E. Texas N. Texas S. Texas W. Texas
United States district and territorial courts
US Court of Appeals and District Court map.svg
District courts
Territorial courts
Extinct courts
American Samoa does not have a district court or federal territorial court; federal matters there go to the District of Columbia, Hawaii, or its own Supreme Court.

Coordinates: 34°22′03″N 89°31′14″W / 34.367536°N 89.520681°W / 34.367536; -89.520681