Judge Cory Wilson – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi

Judge Cory Wilson, who currently serves on the Mississippi Court of Appeals has a relatively short jurisprudential record.  However, as a former state representative, Wilson has a larger record of political activity and statements that may be mined during the confirmation process.


Cory Todd Wilson was born on August 8, 1970, in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  After getting a B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Mississippi, Wilson received his J.D. from Yale Law School.[1]  Wilson then clerked for Judge Emmett Ripley Cox on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and then joined the Jackson office of Watkins Ludlam Winter & Stennis P.A.

In 2001, Wilson joined Bradley Arant Rose & White LLP as an associate.  He stayed until 2008, except for a year as a White House Fellow.[2]  In 2008, he joined the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office as Chief of Staff/Deputy Secretary of State.  Wilson also served as Counsel for State Treasurer Lynn Fitch.  

In 2011, Wilson joined Heidelberg Steinberger Colmer & Burrow, P.A., where he stayed until his election to the Mississippi House of Representatives as a Republican in 2016.  Wilson served in the House until 2019, when he was appointed to the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

History of the Seat

Wilson has been nominated for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.  This seat opened on March 23, 2018, when Judge Louis Guirola took senior status.  While Wilson broached his interest in the judgeship in mid-2018, his nomination was not sent to the White House until May 2019, after he had been appointed to a seat on the Mississippi Court of Appeals.[3]  Wilson was ultimately nominated in November 2019.

Legal Experience

Before he joined the legislature, Wilson generally practiced civil litigation, albeit with some work with both the Secretary of State and the Treasurer of Mississippi.  Over the course of his career, Wilson has tried three cases to verdict.[4]  Notably, Wilson represented one of the defendants sued for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy to photograph Sen. Thad Cochran’s wife in order to damage his re-election campaign.[5]  Wilson was able to get the case against his client dismissed for failure to state a claim.[6]


Wilson has served on the Mississippi Court of Appeals since his appointment in February 2019.  In his time on the bench, Wilson has authored approximately twenty opinions, mostly on matters of criminal law.  For example, Wilson wrote for the Court in finding that the trial judge did not err in trying and convicting a defendant while he was not present, finding that the defendant was trying to willfully avoid trial.[7]  In contrast, in another case, Wilson reversed a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, finding that the indictment was defective.[8]

Political Activity

As noted earlier, Wilson was elected as a Republican to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2015 and served until his appointment to the Court of Appeals in 2019.  Wilson also previously ran for the state legislature in 2007, albeit unsuccessfully.  During his campaign, Wilson identified himself as a “conservative consensus builder.”[9]  He also attacked his opponent for opposing the record of Gov. Haley Barbour,[10] crime policy,[11] and cuts in dyslexia funding.[12]

In addition to his campaigns, Wilson has extensive involvement with the Mississippi Republican Party, including serving as a volunteer during many Republican campaigns and serving on Republican organizations.[13] 

Speeches and Writings

As both a state representative and as a private citizen, Wilson wrote frequently on the law and policy, generally representing a conservative perspective on both.  Additionally, Wilson also maintains an active Twitter account.[14]  His tweets and his writings have already drawn sharp criticism from liberal groups.[15]  Specifically, Wilson has been criticized for calling for the reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade,[16] and for referring to same-sex marriage as “a pander to liberal interest groups.”[17]

On his Twitter account, Wilson’s tweets are generally innocuous, describing the weather or celebrating major American holidays.  However, some of the tweets touch on more controversial topics.  For example, in a tweet on October 5, 2018, Wilson praises Sen. Susan Collins for supporting the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, praising her for rejecting “ugly tactics employed by the Left.”[18]  Similarly, the day before the 2018 election, Wilson wrote that the election was a choice between “#RepublicanResults, or unhinged Dem #Resistance.”[19]

Overall Assessment

Given Wilson’s public statements attacking his perceived political opponents, it is unsurprising that he has drawn controversy since his nomination and that his name has proceeded relatively slowly through the confirmation process.  That being said, given the Republican majority, Wilson is favored for confirmation.  Nonetheless, Democrats may raise questions as to Wilson’s willingness to consider with an open mind the legal arguments of parties he disagrees with.  If Wilson is able to rebut such concerns, he will likely get a bipartisan confirmation.

[1] Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 115th Cong., Cory Wilson: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees 1.

[2] Id. at 2.

[3] See id. at 87.

[4] Id. at 72.

[5] See Mayfield v. Butler Snow LLP, 341 F. Supp. 3d 664 (S.D. Miss. 2018).

[6] Id.

[7] Morales v. State, 2019 WL 3562031 (Miss. Ct. App. Aug. 6, 2019).

[8] Payne v. State, 2019 WL 2511477 (Miss. Ct. App. June 18, 2019).

[9] See A Time For Choosing, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVYGAn5Ddkw.

[10] See id.

[11] Cory Wilson on Crime, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MvqKGgcVVQ.

[12] Cory Wilson (Unaired), YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDp-wvvs9_A.

[13] See Wilson, supra n. 1 at 68-69.

[14] See Cory Wilson (@CoryWilsonMS), https://twitter.com/CoryWilsonMS.

[15] See, e.g., Alliance for Justice, Report on Cory Wilson (available at https://afj.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Cory-Wilson-Report-Final-1.3.20.pdf).

[16] See Mississippi Right to Life Candidate Questionnaire, available at https://afj.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Wilson-Attachments-p489-493.pdf.

[17] Cory T. Wilson, When Tolerance Is Really ‘Zero Tolerance’, Press-Register, June 1, 2012, available at https://afj.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Wilson-Attachments-p200-201.pdf.

David Joseph – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana

The Western District of Louisiana faced a massive vacancy crisis early in the Trump Administration, with five vacancies on a court of seven judgeships.[1]  Over the past two years, the Administration has appointed four men to the bench.  Now, a fifth, U.S. Attorney David Joseph, has been tapped to fill the final vacancy on the court.


David Cleveland Joseph was born in Dallas on May 6, 1977.  Joseph attended the University of Oklahoma, graduating in 2000.  He went straight from college into Louisiana State University Law School, getting his J.D. in 2003.  Joseph then clerked for Justice Jeffrey Victory on the Louisiana Supreme Court and for Judge John Parker on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana before joining the U.S. Army as a JAG Officer.[2] 

In 2008, Joseph joined the Dallas office of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP as a litigation associate.  After three years there and a year at Kane, Russell, Coleman & Logan, P.C., Joseph joined the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as a Senior Attorney.[3]

In 2014, Joseph moved from Dallas to Lafayette, Louisiana, becoming a federal prosecutor under U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley.  In 2018, upon the recommendation of Louisiana’s Republican senators, Joseph was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate to replace Finley.  Joseph currently serves as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.

History of the Seat

Joseph has been nominated to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.  The seat Joseph has been nominated for opened on November 30, 2017, with Judge Dee Drell’s move to senior status.  

In September 2019, Joseph was contacted by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) to urge him to serve as a federal judge.[4]  Joseph subsequently interviewed before the White House in October 2019 and was nominated on December 2, 2019.  

Legal Experience

While Joseph has held a number of different positions throughout his legal career, his most prominent positions are those of U.S. Attorney and assistant U.S. attorney.  In the latter position, Joseph served as a federal criminal prosecutor, handling white collar crimes, firearm cases, and crimes committed on military bases.[5]  In particular, Joseph prosecuted Buddhist monk Khang Nguyen Le for stealing temple funds to gamble at a local casino.[6]  Le ended up pleading guilty and being sentenced to 30 months in prison.[7]  Joseph also prosecuted Ryan Taylor for manufacturing and detonating a chemical weapon at the Fort Polk Army Installation.[8]

As U.S. Attorney, Joseph leads an office of approximately forty attorneys in conducting both criminal prosecutions and civil defense of the United States.  Notably, Joseph’s office prosecuted Lake Charles police officer Robert Hammac for using excessive force during an arrest.[9]  In the prosecution, Joseph stated:

“…officers who betray the badge and the public’s trust, as the defendant did here, dishonor their profession and endanger the safety of their fellow officers.”[10] 

Among other prominent prosecutions of his time as U.S. Attorney, Joseph’s office indicted Donnie Laing for orchestrating a million dollar Ponzi scheme,[11] and prosecuted Gilvin Aucoin for poaching an endangered whooping crane.[12]

Overall Assessment

At 42 years old, Joseph is, by far, the youngest district court nominee put forward by Trump in Louisiana.  Nonetheless, Joseph has a fairly varied resume, with extensive litigation experience in both criminal and civil law.  

Joseph has generally managed to steer clear of controversy throughout his career, and his aggressive prosecution of poaching and police brutality should win him some Democratic support.  As such, Joseph will likely be confirmed fairly comfortably.

[1] Tyler Bridges, 42 Parish Area of Western Louisiana Suffers From Vacant Federal Judgeships, The Acadiana Advocate, Aug. 22, 2017, http://www.theadvocate.com/acadiana/news/article_dad54e68-8791-11e7-9cfc-678529cbf1c6.html.

[2] Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong., David Joseph: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees 2.

[3] See id.

[4] Id. at 42-43.

[5] See id. at 28.  

[6] Press Release, Office of the U.S. Attorney, Buddhist Monk Pleads Guilty of Defrauding Temple of More than $263,000 (March 17, 2016).

[7] Press Release, Office of the U.S. Attorney, Buddhist Monk Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison For Defrauding Temple of More than $263,000 (July 25, 2016).

[8] United States v. Taylor, Case No. 17-CR-00324 (W.D. La.).

[9] See U.S. Attorney: Former Lake Charles Police Officer Sentenced to 18 Months in Federal Prison For Civil Rights Violation, States News Service, Nov. 21, 2019.

[10] See id. (quoting David Joseph).

[11] See Youngsville Man Indicted in Million Dollar Investment Fraud and Ponzi Scheme, States News Service, Nov. 21, 2019.

[12] See Man From Ville Platte Sentenced For Killing Endangered Whooping Crane, States News Service, Nov. 1, 2019.

Edward Meyers – Nominee to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Commercial litigator Edward Meyers is one of President Trump’s nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, a court undergoing a significant amount of turnover in the last few years.


Edward Hulvey Meyers was born in Washington D.C. in 1972.  Meyers received a B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 1995 and a J.D. from Catholic University Columbus School of Law in 2005, after spending the intervening years as an engineer.[1]  After law school, Meyers clerked for Judge Loren Smith on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims before joining the D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis as an associate.[2]  In 2012, Meyers joined Stein Mitchell Beato & Missner LLP as a Partner, where he currently practices.

History of the Seat

Meyers has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC), an Article I court that hears monetary claims against the federal government.  Judges to the CFC are appointed for 15-year terms, and can be reappointed.  The seat Meyers was nominated for opened up on January 8, 2016, with Judge Lawrence Block’s move to senior status.  On January 23, 2018, President Trump nominated Federal Trade Commission member Maureen Ohlhausen to fill the vacancy.  While Ohhlausen’s nomination passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party line vote, she did not receive a vote before the end of the 115th Congress.  In December 2018, Ohlhausen withdrew her nomination.[3]

In March 2019, Meyers was contacted by the White House to gauge his interest in an appointment to the CFC.[4]  Meyers was nominated in October 2019.

Legal Activity

Meyers has spent his career at the firms of Kirkland & Ellis and Stein Mitchell Beato & Missner LLP.  At both firms, Meyers worked primarily in commercial litigation, generally representing corporations and other commercial entities in contract, securities, and other similar claims.  Over the course of his career, Meyers tried one jury trial and two bench trials.[5]  Notably, Meyers served as an attorney for a class of plaintiffs who filed suit against CVS Pharmacy, Inc. alleging the misrepresentation of generic drug pricing when submitting claims to insurance providers.[6]

In a more politically sensitive matter, Meyers represented Wisconsin entities targeted in “John Doe” investigations.[7]  The investigations targeted conservative entities who were alleged to have coordinated with Gov. Scott Walker in violation of state law.[8]  The investigations were eventually ended by the conservative majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, who held that state law did not regulate issue advocacy.[9] 

Overall Assessment

In comparison to many of Trump’s other nominees to the CFC, Meyers has extensive experience with the issues that come before the specialized court.  As such, while Meyers may face questions regarding his representation in the John Doe cases, he is unlikely to face much opposition en route to confirmation.

[1]  Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong., Edward Meyers: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees 1.

[2] Id. at 2.

[3] Ryan Lovelace, FTC’s Ohlhausen to Join Baker Botts, Bypassing Judicial Nomination, Nat’l Law Journal, Dec. 6, 2018, https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/2018/12/06/ftcs-ohlhausen-to-join-baker-botts-bypassing-judicial-nomination/.  

[4] See Meyers, supra n. 1 at 33.

[5] See id. at 11.

[6] Corcoran v. CVS Health Corp., No. 17-16996, — Fed. Appx. — (9th Cir. June 12, 2019).

[7] See Dee J. Hall, Targets Seek Stay of Investigation into Walker’s Recall Campaign, Other Groups; Three Unidentified Parties Want a Judge to Suspend the John Doe Inquiry, Wisc. State Journal, Nov. 20, 2013.

[8] See id.

[9] Wisconsin ex rel. Two Unnamed Petitioners v. Peterson, 363 Wis.2d 1 (2015). 

W. Scott Hardy – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

Over the past two decades, W. Scott Hardy has built up a practice representing Western Pennsylvania entities in labor and employment disputes.  Now, with the support of Pennsylvania’s bipartisan team of senators, Hardy has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.


William Scott Hardy was born in Pittsburgh PA in 1971.[1]  Hardy graduated magna cum laude from Alleghany College in 1993 and from Notre Dame University Law School in 1996.[2]  He spent a year at the Pittsburgh office of Meyer Unkovic & Scott LLP and then joined Cohen & Grigsby P.C., practicing Labor & Employment law.  In 2010, Hardy joined Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., where he currently serves on the Board of Directors.[3]

History of the Seat

The seat Hardy has been nominated for opened on June 13, 2019, with Judge Nora Barry Fischer’s move to senior status.  

Hardy applied to the bipartisan judicial selection committee set up by Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey in April 2019.[4]  Hardy interviewed with Toomey and Casey shortly after and was recommended to the White House in August 2019.  He was nominated in December 2019.

Legal Experience

Hardy has focused his career on labor and employment law, primarily representing businesses, non-profits, and governmental employers.  Overall, Hardy has litigated three jury trials to verdict.[5]  Notably, Hardy represented J.C. Penney in a civil jury trial in West Virginia.[6] 

Among Hardy’s most significant cases, he has represented a number of Western Pennsylvania corporations, universities, and hospitals in defending against labor, employment, and contract actions.  For example, he represented Waynesburg University in successfully defending against a racial discrimination claim filed by a former wrestling coach.[7]  He also represented Pennsylvania State University in defending against Title VII, ADA, and FMLA claims raised by administrators.[8]

Political Activity

Hardy is a Republican and has frequently donated to Pennsylvania Republicans, including Toomey and former Rep. Keith Rothfus.[9]

Overall Assessment

At a time of fierce partisanship over judicial nominations, Toomey and Casey have generally proven cooperative, plugging through the long list of Pennsylvania vacancies. Hardy is, thus, the product of a process that works.  As such, given his relatively noncontroversial career, Hardy will likely be confirmed in due course, without attracting much flash.

[1] Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong., Scott Hardy: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees 1.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id. at 46.

[5] Id. at 30.

[6] Moyer v. J.C. Penney, Civil Action No. 09-C-368 (Circuit Ct. of Wood Cnty., WV) (Bean, J.).

[7] Heard v. Waynesburg University, No. 2:09-cv-01315-RCM (W.D. Pa.).

[8] Onesi et al. v. The Pennsylvania State University, No. 2:11-cv-00928-LPL (W.D. Pa.).