Gavel, court, lawyer, judge, attorney
(Courtesy photo)

BOISE • President Barack Obama is nominating David Nye for Idaho’s vacant federal district court spot.

Nye is a district judge in Idaho’s Sixth Judicial District, which is based in Pocatello and covers the southeastern part of the state.

“I am pleased to nominate Judge Nye to serve on the United States District Court bench,” Obama said in a statement. “I am confident he will serve the American people with distinction.”

A California native and Brigham Young University law school graduate, Nye started his legal career in 1986 as a clerk in the Fifth Judicial District, which includes the Magic Valley. Nye then spent 20 years as a lawyer specializing in medical malpractice and insurance law in Pocatello before being appointed to the bench in 2007.

Federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, but the president generally defers to a state’s senators on the pick. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch released a statement Tuesday announcing their support for Obama’s choice and pledging to work for his confirmation.

“The nomination of Judge Nye is the result of a productive consultation process between the Idaho Senate delegation, the President and his team,” Crapo said. “Judge Nye’s combined experiences as a litigator and his service to Idaho as a district judge make him well qualified to serve Idaho as our next federal district court judge.”

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“This has been a long and difficult process as we worked through potential candidates,” Risch said. “All applicants were considered and several vetted at various levels. The parties worked in good faith to reach an agreement. I am happy that we have settled on a sound and principled jurist who will be an outstanding judge.”

Crapo and Risch have kept the selection process and who’s being considered mostly secret since it started in late 2014. A year ago, news came out that at least five prominent women attorneys interested in the job weren’t interviewed even though four men were, prompting the senators to insist publicly that they were interviewing both men and women. In December, news came out that Twin Falls district judge Richard Bevan was being considered for the job.

The federal district judge in Idaho has been a prominent position in recent years, with some of the court’s more high-profile rulings including ones allowing political parties to close their primaries, striking down the state’s gay marriage ban and the so-called “ag-gag” law, and invalidating the state’s school broadband contract.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge assumed senior status last July, allowing him to provide volunteer service and handle a reduced number of cases, leaving Lynn Winmill as the only federal district judge in Idaho.

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