BOISE — The Idaho Supreme Court soon will have a new justice.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced in a news release Tuesday that Boise attorney Colleen Zahn will fill the position that Justice Roger Burdick will vacate when he retires June 30. Burdick, who was appointed to the Idaho Supreme Court in 2003 and served as chief justice from 2011 to 2017, announced his retirement date earlier this year.
Zahn, a graduate of the University of Idaho College of Law, will be the fourth woman to serve on the Idaho Supreme Court, according to Supreme Court spokesperson Nate Poppino.
Most recently, Zahn served as the head of the Criminal Law Division for the Idaho Attorney General’s Office. Before that, she was the lead deputy attorney general for the Civil Litigation Division. Zahn handled civil matters for numerous state agencies, including the Idaho Department of Correction. Zahn also has 10 years of experience with trial and litigation firms in the private sector.
“She will bring beneficial insight to Idaho’s highest court with her extensive civil litigation background and longtime role representing numerous government agencies. I am confident she has the experience and aptitude to handle complex matters before the Idaho Supreme Court,” Little said in a news release.
Zahn said her appointment to the Supreme Court is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
“Throughout my career I have worked to uphold the rule of law to achieve a fair and just result. I will bring these same ideals to my work on the court. I am proud to continue my service to the state of Idaho,” Zahn said in the release.
Zahn will take over Burdick’s unexpired term — ending in January 2023 — on the five-member court. She was chosen for the job over two other candidates — Jessica Lorello, a judge for the Idaho Court of Appeals, and Diane Walker, a magistrate judge based in Idaho’s 4th District in Ada County.
Before the search pool was narrowed to three, others in the running for the job included former U.S. Attorney for Idaho Bart Davis and Leslie Hayes, a deputy attorney general for the Idaho AG’s Civil Litigation Division.