Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, May 19, 2011


Page 5


Alaska Supreme Court Justice Nominated to Ninth U.S. Circuit


From Staff and Wire Service Reports


President Obama yesterday nominated Justice Morgan Christen of the Alaska Supreme Court to the  U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

“I am proud to nominate this outstanding candidate…I am confident Justice Morgan Christen will serve the American people with integrity and distinction,” Obama said in an official statement.

Christen’s nomination also brought enthusiastic responses from both of Alaska’s U.S. senators.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Christen was an outstanding choice. “Over the course of a decade on the bench, she has a track record of impartial, intelligent and fair judgments that demonstrate respect for the rule of law and the role of the judiciary in our democratic system,” the senator said.

 Democratic Sen. Mark Begich said he had “known Morgan for years as one of Alaska’s sharpest lawyers and most compassionate judges.” Begich said he had recommended her for the Ninth Circuit opening created last year when Judge Andrew Kleinfeld of Fairbanks took senior status.

The president’s nomination of Christen must now go to the Senate Judiciary Committee which can then pass her nomination on to be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate.

According to the White House statement, Christen was born and raised in Washington State. She got her B.A. from the University of Washington in 1983.

She obtained her law degree from San Francisco’s Golden Gate University School of Law in 1986, the year she moved to Alaska to begin a clerkship with Judge Brian Shortell of the Alaska Superior Court. In 1987, she joined the Anchorage office of the firm of Preston, Thorgrimson & Holman (now K & L Gates LLP).

In 2001, Christen was appointed to the Alaska Superior Court by then-Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat. In 2009, she was appointed to the Supreme Court by Republican Gov. Sarah Palin.

 In 2004, along with her husband Jim Torgerson, she was named Alaska Philanthropist of the Year.


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