McGaha serves summer internship with District Judge’s office

Published 11:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2022

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First-generation law student Micah McGaha is grateful to serve as a judge’s clerk this summer and looks forward to applying the experience and his education as he pursues becoming a lawyer.

Originally from Milton, Florida, and now a student at the University of Mississippi’s Law School in Oxford, McGaha said he reached out to Covington County District Judge Julie Moody during the spring semester.

“I asked her about an opportunity to clerk with her, and she was gracious enough to allow me to come and do so. My internship began the first week of June and came to a close on Thursday, July 28.”

McGaha graduated from Milton High School in Florida in 2015 and obtained his degree in Business Administration from The University of West Alabama in 2019. He will be going into his second year of law school at Ole Miss this fall.

He was grateful to serve as a clerk under the leadership of Judge Moody this summer.

“I have learned a lot about the court system and the people who keep it running. It is great to be able to see the legal system in action after learning about it in more of the abstract in my first year. Being able to see the court from the inside and seeing how judges weigh decisions about cases when the evidence and testimony is contradictory and judgments must be made about the character of witnesses has been so awesome to be a part of it. Judge Moody has been a tremendous example of judicial prudence and temperament. Her legal pensiveness should be an example for all of us who enter the legal profession,” McGaha said.

He added that he chose to become a lawyer because he believes that the most good in finality that can be achieved is at a legal level.

“Whether this is representing clients against bad actors who wish to do them harm or passing legislation meant to protect the rights of the American people, the legal system is the be-all-end-all for change and justice.”

McGaha will be the first person in his immediate family to become a lawyer.

“I didn’t have any preconceived notions of the legal world and didn’t watch lawyers on TV. What I have witnessed as a first-generation law student has impressed me with regards to our legal system. It is an incredibly fair and robust system. This does not mean it is without faults, like the financial expense of the court system, but it is unlike anything else in the world. Our citizens are afforded every opportunity to achieve the right result in our court system through numerous appeals and motions that are codified in the system. Our Due Process Clause has afforded us with the clearest and strongest protection that our rights are not to be taken away except through process laid out through the legal system. The separation of powers in our Constitution is the failsafe that prevents a swift infringement of our liberties.”

He referenced the late Justice Antonin Scalia in his lectures on the separation of powers. “Scalia opined that every tin pot dictator in the world had a Bill of Rights, some much better than our own, but in our uniqueness, none of those enumerated rights are worth anything unless there are separation of powers that prevent a unilateral usurpation of those rights with checks, balances, and due process of law.”

He decided to further his education at Ole Miss for a couple of reasons. “I chose the University of Mississippi School of Law because of its long history of legal excellence and because I wanted to challenge myself to go to a school with a strong academic record.”

Being a judge’s clerk locally was something McGaha took pride in.

“I think Andalusia is a great representation of the country and the legal system writ large. The big cities seem to get the most love in the legal world because of their vigor, but they are not representative of the vast majority of our courts. Our court system’s bread and butter is here in small cities,” he said.

As far as his future goes, there are a few paths he envisions for himself in the long term.

“The first is becoming a federal judge. Adjudicating big cases with constitutional implications would be extremely gratifying work. Another would be running for political office, probably in a legislature, and maybe if all goes well, for an executive office one day. I may very well fall in love with private practice and decide that advocating for my clients is the career I want to pursue to its ends,” he said.

McGaha is the son of Tommy McGaha and Danielle Deir and is married to his wife, Mollie McGaha.