District Judge Carlton Reeves to MSU students: ‘Be citizen soldiers.’

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> STARKVILLE, Miss.— “It does not matter what task you take on; Mississippi State will have prepared you for it,” U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves told a crowd of mostly Mississippi State students Tuesday [Feb. 23] in the university’s Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium.
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> “If you believe in hope and in ‘Yes, we can,’ you need to be out there voting and participating in the electoral process,” Reeves said. A federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, the Yazoo City native earlier in the day received MSU’s 2016 Distinguished Jurist Award.
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> The annual award is sponsored by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration and Pre-Law Society.
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> Reeves reminded his audience that voting also is inextricably linked to one’s civic obligation to serve on jury. Instead of making excuses about why they should not, cannot or do not want to fulfill their duty, Reeves encouraged his audience to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the ability to serve.
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> “Your view of the world is shaped by your experiences. No one has walked in your shoes,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with a different perspective, and when you and your fellow citizens serve on jury, you all bring those different perspectives.”
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> Reeves noted that transformation has taken place within the federal judiciary in the last eight years. Along with seeing a record number of women serving, the federal judiciary has seen an increase in racial and ethnic representation.
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> “You all see three women on the U.S. Supreme Court. When the next Vietnamese, Hispanic or Latina is on the circuit, it should be status quo,” Reeves said. We should not feel that it’s an aberration, or something new or something that we can’t handle; we should be proud of that fact.”
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> Citizens who choose to vote have the ability to put judges such as Reeves in the position to serve and effect change. On April 28, 2010, Reeves was formally nominated to a judgeship for the Southern District of Mississippi by President Barack Obama. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 19, 2010, and received his commission the following day.
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> “That vote gets the President, and that vote or influence gets those senators. That vote is what makes the difference,” said Reeves, the second African American federal judge from Mississippi who already has made several landmark decisions on controversial issues of race and gender during his time on the bench.
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> In addition to voting and fulfilling their duty to serve on jury, Reeves encouraged his audience to seek out other opportunities to make a difference.
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> “Speak out for issues. Make sure you have your education and that the next person beside you has that education,” said the Jackson State University magna cum laude political science bachelor’s graduate who also holds a 1989 Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
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> “You have the opportunity open to you to be citizen soldiers right here at Mississippi State, and you can make an impact right here in this great state of Mississippi,” he emphasized.
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> Regardless of what profession they choose, Reeves told the students that they will be ready to take on “those issues burning inside you.”
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> “Believe in the capacity of the greatness of America,” he said. “Have that audacious faith that (Martin Luther) King (Jr.) talked about. Shroud yourself in the incomparable, unflinchable, indomitable American spirit. Look beyond what you can see, and make a difference.”
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> Additional information on the political science and public administration department and its Distinguished Jurist Award is found at www.pspa.msstate.edu; the College of Arts and Sciences, at www.cas.msstate.edu.
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> MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.
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> U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves encouraged Mississippi State students to vote and fulfill their civic duty to serve on jury. The Yazoo City native and university’s 2016 Distinguished Jurist Award recipient also advised his audience to seek additional opportunities to make a positive impact on the university, state and country. (Photo by Megan Bean)
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