Gavel Grab

Women Seemingly Overlooked for Idaho Federal Judge Opening

One of Idaho’s two federal district court judges is planning on taking senior status soon, leaving one full time judgeship open. Although President Obama will eventually make the nomination, the state’s Senators are leading the vetting process, the Spokesman-Review reports.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have interviewed four candidates so far – all male. “Idaho is the only state in the federal 9th Circuit that has never had a woman judge on the U.S. District Court bench,” the article explains. Several women have submitted applications as early as December, and none has yet been contacted. Attorney Terrie Pickens Manweiler says she heard she is too progressive, and the article suggests that U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale, considered a front runner for the position, is being rejected for writing the decision that overturned Idaho’s same sex marriage ban.

Shaakirrah Sanders, a professor with the University of Idaho College of Law called the process “inherently political,” which the article suggests may be the case:

“Multiple sources say the four male finalists interviewed for the position include two state district judges, and two Idaho attorneys with strong GOP ties – one a Republican elected official, the other the general counsel and a member of the senior management of Melaleuca Inc. That eastern Idaho company contributed $1 million to a super-PAC backing Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.”

An unwritten Senate Judiciary Committee rule virtually stops the federal nomination process unless both senators from the state approve of the nominee, virtually giving them veto power.

See Gavel Grab for more news on the nomination of federal judges.

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