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by Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Mississippi State Supreme Court Justice Josiah Dennis Coleman’s father administered the oath of office at his formal investiture Tuesday in Oxford as the justice’s mother, wife and daughter watched.

Josiah Dennis Coleman of Toccopola took the oath from Judge Thomas Coleman before a packed courtroom at the Lafayette County Courthouse.

“Justice Coleman has an impressive family background,” said Chief Justice William Waller Jr., who presided over the ceremony. He noted that Thomas Coleman is a former Mississippi Supreme Court administrator and an original member of the Mississippi Court of Appeals, and the new justice’s grandfather was Gov. J.P. Coleman, who was also a state legislator, attorney general, Mississippi Supreme Court justice and U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge.

Waller praised Josiah Coleman as a diligent worker and meticulous scholar.

“We have got an outstanding member of the court,” he said.

Former Supreme Court Justice and current Circuit Judge James Roberts of Pontotoc added his own accolades and urgings.

“Justice Coleman, you have been born into a great family, a distinguished family,” he said. “But you make your own footprints with your own shoes.”

State Treasurer Stacey Pickering noted Coleman’s service ranges from volunteer firefighter to endlessly having his youth questioned on the campaign trail.

“You must have the wisdom to realize you can’t do it alone,” Pickering said, urging him to seek the wisdom of God and of “people that would serve as counselors and encouragers for you.”

Coleman thanked his parents and other campaign supporters, reserving special gratitude to his wife, Ashleigh.

“I decided to run for this position when my wife was seven months pregnant,” he said. “My wife encouraged me, and the Lord opened up doors.”

To his fellow justices he said, “There’s not one of you from whom I don’t have a great deal to learn. I cannot imagine a better situation for a new justice than to serve with you all.”

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