Kenny Griffis
Kenny Griffis
Two Madison countians were appointed to spots in the state judiciary last week by Gov. Phil Bryant as a result of the retirement of Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller.

Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Kenny Griffis of Ridgeland was appointed by Bryant to fill Waller’s seat. Bryant then turned around and appointed state Rep. Cory Wilson of Madison to the Mississippi Court of Appeals. 

Waller currently represents District 1, Position 1 in the Supreme Court. He will retire on Jan. 31, 2019, with Griffis’ appointment effective Feb. 1, 2019.

“Judge Griffis has served exceptionally on the Mississippi Court of Appeals, and his wealth of experience on the bench will prove very valuable as he moves into his new role,” Bryant said last week. “He has an outstanding legal mind and is highly respected among his peers. I have full faith Judge Griffis will be a real asset to the Mississippi Supreme Court. Additionally, I am thankful for Chief Justice Waller for admirably serving the people of Mississippi for more than 22 years on the state’s highest court, and I wish him well in retirement. The people of Mississippi owe him a debt of gratitude.”

Wilson was first elected to the recently-created District 73 seat in November 2015 and was up for re-election next year. 

A native of Moss Point, Wilson was raised by a public schoolteacher and an Ingalls Shipyard engineer. He graduated from Moss Point High School in 1988 and went on to graduate summa cum laude in Economics from the Ole Miss School of Business in 1992. He received a law degree from the Yale Law School in 1995.

After clerking for a federal appeals court judge, he practiced law with two firms in Jackson from 1996 to 2008. In 2005, Wilson was selected as one of twelve White House Fellows, serving from 2005 to 2006 as a special assistant to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. As part of the White House Fellowship, he traveled on policy-related trips across the United States, Europe, North Africa, and Latin America.

Wilson served from 2008 to 2011 as Chief of Staff for Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. Cory managed day to day operations of the agency, including elections issues. In October 2008, Cory staffed five Secretaries of State from around the country on a trip to bases in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany to study military voting procedures.

In 2011, he returned to private practice. From 2014-2015, Cory also served as Senior Advisor and Counsel to Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Fitch, while maintaining his law practice on a part-time basis.

Jill Ford, who ran in 2015 against Gerald Steen for the District 3 Madison County Supervisor seat, has since announced plans to run for Wilson’s seat in 2019 in a special election. 

Ford lost by less than 40 votes to Steen in 2015. 

“As someone who lives, works and has raised a family in District 73 of Madison County for the past 32 years, I believe our community expects and deserves continued ethical leadership in the House” Ford said in her announcement last Thursday. “I will look out for, and always keep in mind, the citizens of our great county. I have always felt a sense of responsibility to give back to my community and I can think of no better way than to take on a role of a public servant.”