Supreme Court of Mississippi


The Supreme Court of Mississippi is the highest court in the state of Mississippi. It was established in the first constitution of the state following its admission as a State of the Union in 1817 and was known as the High Court of Errors and Appeals. The court is an appellate court, as opposed to a trial court. The Court Building is located in downtown Jackson, Mississippi, the state capital.

Mississippi Supreme Court
Seal of the Judiciary of Mississippi.svg
Seal of the Mississippi Judiciary
LocationJackson, Mississippi
Composition methodNonpartisan election
Authorized byMississippi Constitution
Appeals toSupreme Court of the United States
Judge term lengthEight years
Number of positions9
Chief Justice
CurrentlyMichael K. Randolph
SinceFebruary 1, 2019
Lead position ends-------


The constitution of 1832 provided for a "High Court of Errors and Appeals," to consist of three judges to be elected, one from each of the three districts into which the legislature should divide the State. Section 3 reads: "The office of one of said judges shall be vacated in two years, and of one in four years, and of one in six years; so that at the expiration of every two years, one of said judges shall be elected as aforesaid." The title of the tribunal was changed by the constitution of 1869 to the "Supreme Court of Mississippi" and the judges were appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The provisions of the constitution of 1869 were perpetuated in the constitution of 1890.[1]


Supreme Court of Mississippi

The jurisdiction of the court is mandated by statute. The court has exclusive jurisdiction, for example, over reviewing capital punishment cases. The Mississippi Court of Appeals, the state's other appellate court, was created by the legislature (Miss. Code Ann. § 9-4-1, effective September 6, 1994) to assist the high court in managing a large caseload. The Court of Appeals generally handles criminal cases and cases concerning family law issues, though its jurisdiction is also mandated by statute. All cases submitted for appellate review in the state are filed in the Supreme Court, which then re-directs the appropriate cases to the Court of Appeals and retains the cases over which it has exclusive jurisdiction. After the Court of Appeals makes its ruling, aggrieved parties in certain types of cases there may seek further review from the Mississippi Supreme Court by petitioning for a Writ of Certiorari.

Court compositionEdit

The court was expanded over time to a total of nine justices—one chief, two presiding, and six associate justices. Generally, the justices are elected for eight-year terms, with staggered election years, from three geographical districts (three judges per district) to ensure fair representation. However, it is common for the governor to appoint a justice to fill a seat vacated by the death or retirement of a justice. If less than half of the term remains, the appointee serves the remainder of the term. If more than half of the term remains, the appointee may serve until a special election is held. Seniority of the justices is determined by length of time in office. The chief justice is the current justice who has been in office the longest, and the presiding justices are next two in seniority.


The Supreme Court of Mississippi is separated into three districts, with three Justices elected from each. They are separated by county lines, as follows.

District 1Edit

District 2Edit

District 3Edit


Composition of the courtEdit

District Place Justice Born Assumed office Appointing governor College Law school Next election
1st 1 Kenny Griffis 1960/1961 (age 60–61)[2] February 1, 2019 Phil Bryant (R) Mississippi Mississippi 2028
2 Leslie D. King, Presiding Justice (1949-01-17) January 17, 1949 (age 73) February 23, 2011 Haley Barbour (R) Mississippi Texas Southern 2028
3 James W. Kitchens, Presiding Justice (1943-04-29) April 29, 1943 (age 79) January 2009 n/a Southern Mississippi Mississippi 2024
2nd 1 David M. Ishee 1963 (age 58–59) September 18, 2017 Phil Bryant (R) Southern Mississippi Mississippi 2026
2 Dawn H. Beam (1964-05-15) May 15, 1964 (age 58) January 1, 2016 Phil Bryant (R) Mississippi Mississippi 2024
3 Michael K. Randolph, Chief Justice 1946 (age 75–76) April 23, 2004[a] Haley Barbour (R) Rollins College Mississippi 2028
3rd 1 Robert P. Chamberlin (1965-04-06) April 6, 1965 (age 57) January 2, 2017 n/a Mississippi Mississippi 2024
2 James D. Maxwell II (1975-05-04) May 4, 1975 (age 47) January 1, 2016 Phil Bryant (R) Mississippi Mississippi 2024
3 Josiah D. Coleman (1972-11-03) November 3, 1972 (age 49) January 7, 2013 n/a Mississippi Mississippi 2028
  1. ^ Associate Justice from April 23, 2004 to January 31, 2019.


  1. ^ Thomas H. Somerville, "A Sketch of the Supreme Court of Mississippi", in Horace W. Fuller, ed., The Green Bag, Vol. XI (1899), p. 506-507.
  2. ^ Graham, Bill (November 16, 2018). "Meridian native Kenny Griffis to become next chief judge of Court of Appeals". The Meridian Star. Retrieved September 17, 2020.

External linksEdit