Skip to main content

Regent School of Law Welcomes the Honorable Leslie H. Southwick to Campus

Judge Leslie Southwick was nominated as a federal judge and lives to tell about it.

At least, that's what he said Monday, Sept. 14, at a luncheon hosted by Regent University's chapter of the Federalist Society, where he took School of Law students and faculty through the steps on his occupational road less traveled.

Asst. Professor Tessa Dysart with
Judge Leslie Southwick
It happened, as it does with any federal judge nomination: clearing a list of hurdles including selections, questions, presidential selections, waiting and even FBI investigations.

"And a whole lot of luck," added Southwick.

It's a process he's written about in his book, The Nominee: A Political and Spiritual Journey; what he expresses feeling like a character from the Pixar-animated film, Toy Story.

"We were all waiting to see who 'Andy' would pick to take off the shelf next," said Southwick with a laugh.

Tessa Dysart, assistant School of Law professor, formerly worked as a counsel in the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice on vetting judicial nominees and assisting them through the confirmation process. One of the nominees whose nomination she worked on was Southwick's.

"I wanted the students to hear Judge Southwick's story, not just to understand the confirmation process," said Dysart. "But also to see the importance of civility, grace under pressure, and character, which are all qualities that Judge Southwick emulates."

But Southwick's story is a little more complicated and even, according to him, a bit "awkward" to talk about. Because when George W. Bush nominated Southwick to the federal appeals court, Fifth Circuit, he had no idea the controversy that would arise.

Just days before his hearing, a progressive advocacy group brought attention to two cases Southwick had been involved in at the state level: A case involving a racial slur spoken in a workplace, and a case regarding the custody of a child in a family with a father and a bisexual mother.

Despite the flurry of media attention and the general perception that he was being treated unfairly, Southwick explained that he tried to have faith.

He found solace in Habakkuk 3:17-18 which states, "Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines…"

"Still I will rejoice in the Lord," recited Southwick. "This was very meaningful to me."

And it was there, in that place of battling and questioning, that he learned to strike a balance between trusting the Lord and expecting a miracle. After a long journey, he received surprising support from a Democrat senator, and thus enough votes to receive his confirmation.

He continues to talk about his story, and encourages those he meets on his path today.

"Keep your priorities straight. Be willing to take chances and leave your comfort zones," said Southwick. "At the same time, avoid being rash – follow your dreams very carefully, and think about your options if your pursuit fails."

Learn more about Regent University's School of Law.

By Brett Wilson Tubbs

Popular posts from this blog

Regent Law Trains Lawyers Called to Fight for Social Justice

As Regional Legal Coordinator with Freedom Firm in Maharashtra, India, Evan Henck ‘07 helps unravel the complex legal and social difficulties that come with prosecuting sex trafficking.
Evan’s virtual journal entry below depicts the sobering reality of the sex trade even as it celebrates the Freedom Firm’s recent progress. It originally appeared in the 2010 Spring/Summer edition of “Brief Remark”, Regent University School of Law’s new biannual publication.
From giving papers at a national human rights conferences and training human rights attorneys, to subsidizing summer internships within the nascent Center for Global Justice, the Regent Law community is committed to furthering the cause of justice at home and abroad.
If you feel called to the legal profession and to the fight for social justice, a Regent J.D. might be for you. Learn more here.

Jan. 16 2010
Maharashtra, India
In January an informant phoned Suresh Pawar, a human rights activist with the Freedom Firm in Maharashtra, India,…

Regent University School of Law Students Give Back to the Hampton Roads Community

Before their schedules are overruled with rigorous coursework and challenging lectures, Regent University School of Law students give back to the Hampton Roads Community.

In mid-August, Regent Law’s Office of Career & Alumni Services hosted the 9th Annual Community Service Day. Some 140 participants including Regent Law students, faculty, deans, staff, alumni, and members of the James Kent Inn of Court and their families tackled tasks at Union Mission, the Southeast Virginia Foodbank, St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children and the Bridge Christian Fellowship Church. Each year the effort is encouraged by Regent Law to remind students that law, in the name of Christ, is about having a servant’s heart: putting others first in a career teeming with a countering reputation. Ashna Desai, 2L, spent her time volunteering at the Union Mission. Her team unpacked donated winter clothes and prepared them for sale or distribution by the organization. Desai said that the day of volunteering in t…

Constitution Day Explores Fifth Amendment: Should You Talk to the Police?

Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and the right to due process: Regent University School of Law (LAW), Roberson School of Government (RSG) and College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) explored the Fifth Amendment promised to citizens in the United States Constitution on Monday, September 18.

Each year, Regent celebrates the nationwide observance of “Constitution Day,” a day commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.

To commemorate this year, LAW professor James Duane and Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell presented their perspectives on “Finding Common Ground for Criminal Justice: Exploring the Fifth Amendment.”



Duane spelled out his perspective on the Fifth Amendment from his recently published book that explores cases in which innocent parties have self-incriminated in criminal cases due to a lack of proper “lawyering up” before talking to police.

You Have the Right to Remain Innocent: What Police Officers Tell Their Children About the Fifth Amen…