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Thursday, February 15, 2007

His Own Private Idaho

Judge Randy Smith of Idaho was confirmed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today. Smith’s nomination in 2005 created controversy when President Bush nominated him to a seat traditionally held by a judge from California -- which would effectively have given Idaho a second seat on the court. However, when William Myers, who had been nominated for a vacant Idaho seat, was not re-nominated this term, the president switched Smith's nomination to that seat, thereby scuttling the controversy. Smith was then easily approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the full Senate 94-0.

Considering that Idaho's population is just over two percent of the total Ninth Circuit population, while California represents over 62 percent of the circuit population, it seems only fair that California gets 15 of the 28 active judgeships and Idaho one. Hawaii, with nearly the same population as Idaho, also gets just one seat, while Oregon, with about twice Idaho's population, gets two.

This week the Senate also confirmed Marcia Morales Howard and Nora Barry Fisher to district court judgeships. Eight judges have been confirmed already by the 110th Congress.

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