Friday, February 16, 2007
Senate Confirms Smith of Idaho as Ninth Circuit Judge
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Senate yesterday confirmed President Bush’s nomination of N. Randy Smith, an Idaho state trial judge and former state Republican chair, to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 94-0 vote in favor of Smith, 57, fills the vacancy created when Judge Thomas G. Nelson took senior status in November 2003. Idaho has been the only state in the circuit without an active judge since Stephen Trott took senior status at the end of 2004.
Bush had originally nominated Smith for the Trott seat, after having previously nominated Boise attorney William G. Myers III to succeed Nelson. Democrats in the Senate, however, objected to Myers on ideological grounds and to Smith on the ground that the seat should go to a Californian, since Trott and his predecessor had been California residents prior to their appointments.
In a bow to the results of last November’s election, the president did not resubmit Myers’ nomination, withdrew Smith’s nomination to the Trott seat, and replaced Myers with Smith as the nominee for the Nelson seat. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who led the opposition to Smith prior to the switch, voted for the nomination yesterday, while Sen. Barbara Boxer did not vote.
Smith was one of several Idahoans recommended by the state’s senior senator, Republican Larry Craig, for appointment to the Ninth Circuit. He also had the support of Richard Stallings, a former congressman and Idaho Democratic chairman.
Smith was named to the state bench in 1995 by then-Gov. Phil Batt, under whom he served as party chair. He received undergraduate and law degrees at Brigham Young University and worked as a corporate lawyer for the J.R. Simplot Co. before going into private practice in Pocatello in 1982.
His confirmation leaves the Trott seat as the only vacancy on the court. No one has been nominated for that slot.
The Senate yesterday also unanimously confirmed Marcia Morales Howard of Jacksonville to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Howard is a magistrate judge for the district, having been appointed to that post in 2003 after 13 years as a civil practitioner in Jacksonville.
The confirmations of Howard and Smith follow Wednesday’s approval of Nora Barry Fischer’s nomination to the Western District of Pennsylvania. Fischer, whose confirmation was also unanimous, is a Pittsburgh lawyer active in the Pennsylvania Bar Association and local bar groups.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company