Dickinson investiture set for Jan. 9 in Jackson

December 22, 2003

Supreme Court Justice-elect Jess H. Dickinson will take the oath of office at a public ceremony on Jan. 9 at 10:30 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Jackson.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson, co-chair of Governor-elect Haley Barbour's transition team, will be the keynote speaker. Barbour, Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck and Congressman Chip Pickering will also make comments. University of Southern Mississippi President Shelby Thames will introduce the USM Color Guard.

Justice Dickinson said his objective in the office that he is about to assume is to work in harmony with the other justices to improve public trust and confidence in the judiciary.

"I want to raise the level of expectation and confidence that our citizens have in their judicial system," Justice Dickinson said.

"We all know that we are in a very difficult and crucial time in our history. Mississippians are very disillusioned with government and the court system and with lawsuits. With all of these things we keep hearing and seeing and all the criticism, people need to be reminded and shown that the judicial system is a good system and has good people and can do good things," Justice Dickinson said.

"There has to be a jumping off place. There has to be a new beginning. It's going to take work and commitment, and I'm ready to get started with that."

A prayer breakfast is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., and a reception will follow the investiture. All activities will be at the mezzanine level of the Crowne Plaza.

Justice Dickinson, 56, was born in Charleston, Mississippi. He graduated from East Tallahatchie High School in 1965. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Mississippi State University. He graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1982.

He practiced law for a year in Jackson, then moved to Gulfport, where he practiced for 20 years.

He was elected to the Supreme Court in November 2002. His seat on the court in District 2, Position 1, has by statute a 14-month delay between the election and the beginning of the eight-year term.

He was appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Edwin L. Pittman on Jan. 8, 2003, as a special circuit and chancery judge. He has spent much of the past year hearing civil and criminal cases as a special circuit judge in Forrest and Perry counties.