/  05.12.2022

President Biden has officially nominated U.S. Southern Mississippi District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will become the eighth chair since the commission’s creation in 1984, NewsOne reports.

“I support the appointment of Judge Carlton Reeves on being named head of the United States Sentencing Commission,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson. “It is a pleasure to witness the first Black judge to be appointed to the United States Sentencing Commission.”

Nominated to the federal bench in 2010 by former President Barack Obama, Reeves could make history again in the new position. Previously, he became the second Black person to be appointed to Mississippi’s federal bench.

As a federal judge, Reeves has often addressed the deep ties to slavery and prejudice rooted in the state which is home to the Emmett Till lynching.

“Mississippi has expressed its savagery in a number of ways throughout its history — slavery being the cruelest example, but a close second being Mississippi’s infatuation with lynchings,” he said in previous speech.

Some of his work as a federal judge in the state includes handling some of the most high-profile cases in Mississippi. One example is the trial of three white men who brutally murdered a Black man in 2011. The men were ultimately convicted under Reeves’ ruling.

Reeves also played a pivotal role in the legalization of gay marriage of Mississippi and has heard various cases that have sought to prevent abortion access throughout the state.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission was launched in an effort to reduce sentencing disparities while also promoting transparency within criminal sentencing. If selected, he will fill the seat which has not been filled since 2019.

Although the commission currently has seven members, it has not had enough members to function for nearly three years. Federal judges across the nation often depend on the commission’s work to set sentencing guidelines.This has sparked concern among members.

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