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. 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. 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. Wilson was ultimately nominated in November 2019.
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. 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. Wilson was able to get the case against his client dismissed for failure to state a claim.
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. In contrast, in another case, Wilson reversed a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, finding that the indictment was defective.
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.” He also attacked his opponent for opposing the record of Gov. Haley Barbour, crime policy, and cuts in dyslexia funding.
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.
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. His tweets and his writings have already drawn sharp criticism from liberal groups. Specifically, Wilson has been criticized for calling for the reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, and for referring to same-sex marriage as “a pander to liberal interest groups.”
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.” Similarly, the day before the 2018 election, Wilson wrote that the election was a choice between “#RepublicanResults, or unhinged Dem #Resistance.”
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.
 Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 115th Cong., Cory Wilson: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees 1.
 See Mayfield v. Butler Snow LLP, 341 F. Supp. 3d 664 (S.D. Miss. 2018).
 Morales v. State, 2019 WL 3562031 (Miss. Ct. App. Aug. 6, 2019).
 Payne v. State, 2019 WL 2511477 (Miss. Ct. App. June 18, 2019).
 See Wilson, supra n. 1 at 68-69.