Judge Leslie H. Southwick (b. 1950) was a member of the Mississippi Court of Appeals, District Four, from the court's creation in January 1995 through December 2006. On January 9, 2007, President George W. Bush nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which presides over Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
President Bush had nominated Judge Southwick on June 9, 2006 to fill a district court vacancy, but the full Senate failed to vote on his nomination during the 109th Congress and it was returned to the President when that Congress ended its session in December 2006.
In 2005, Judge Southwick served in Iraq as a member of the Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Brigade Combat Team. While on active duty, he served as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate from August 2004 to July 2005 and then as Staff Judge Advocate from July to January 2006. From 1992 to 1997, he served as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Abortion Groups' Opposition to Judge Southwick
Abortion groups oppose the confirmation of Judge Southwick by the U.S. Senate to the Fifth Circuit. Judge Southwick joins a long list of Catholic nominees singled out by liberals for opposition. This list includes:
Judge Southwick upheld a conviction of a mother as an "accessory after the fact" in procuring an abortion for her underage daughter for a pregnancy that resulted from her statutory rape by her husband, who was not the girl's natural father. The legal theory for the conviction was that the mother concealed the crime of sex abuse by procuring an abortion to conceal the result of that sex. Mississippi law requires parental consent for a minor's abortion, which the mother provided to cover up a crime and for which she was later convicted.
Charge of Racism
Portrayals to attempt to paint Southwick as a racist are based upon 1 decision that he made out of the 7,000 in which he has ruled. He did not right the decision, and he was part of the majority ruling.
Judge Southwick has served as a visiting professor at the Mississippi College School of Law, where he has been an adjunct professor since 1998. He also taught at the school from 1985 to 1989.
From 1989 to 1993, he served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division. His duties included supervising the Federal Programs Branch, which represents the United States in lawsuits, and the Office of Consumer Litigation, which enforces the country’s consumer protection laws.
Judge Southwick had a general civil practice with the Jackson, Mississippi, firm of Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, as an associate from 1977 to 1983 and as a partner from 1983 to 1989.
Judge Southwick served as a law clerk for Judge Charles Clark of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Judge John F. Onion, Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. He is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law (1975) and Rice University (cum laude, 1972).
- Sherron v. Mississippi, 2006 Miss. App. LEXIS 832 (Ct. App. Nov. 7, 2006)
- Christian Examiner, Sept 2007, Vol 25, No 9, Pg. 24