September 24, 2023

Judge Carlton Reeves could soon become the first Black chair of the National Sentencing Commission. President Biden announced that this federal judge from Mississippi among a group of nominees.

According to, The U.S. Sentencing Commission studies and develops sentencing policies for the federal courts. The Commission serves as an information resource for Congress, the executive, the courts and the public on matters relating to federal crime and sentencing as well.

The Mississippi Free press reports that Biden nominated U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves of the Southern District of Mississippi to lead this bipartisan agency.

“The Commission was created to reduce sentencing disparities and promote transparency and proportionality in criminal sentencing,” Biden said in a statement. “The Commission has lacked a quorum since 2019, which has prevented it from doing critical business.

If Reeves is confirmed, he would be the eighth chair while continuing to serve as a federal judge in Jackson. Reeves was appointed to the Southern District of Mississippi in 2010 by President Barack Obama.

In 2011, Reeves delivered a speech that made national headlines while sentencing three white men for the brutal murder of James Craig Anderson.

Judge Reeves told the courtroom that “hate comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and from this case, we know it comes in different sexes and ages. A toxic mix of alcohol, foolishness, and unadulterated hatred caused these young people to resurrect the nightmarish specter of lynchings and lynch mobs from the Mississippi we long to forget.”

In 2014, Reeves struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage a year before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state bans nationwide, and in 2018 he found Mississippi’s six-week abortion ban unconstitutional under the existing Roe v. Wade precedent, noting its authors likely passed it to trigger a U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the 1973 ruling.

Let’s congratulate Judge Reeves on a distinguished career and wish him the best with this nomination!

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